Ötzi the Iceman @ Mummy Tombs




Books & Periodicals about Ötzi

Books for Adults and Junior Researchers


Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier by Brenda Fowler is the best book about Ötzi. Fowler has written for the New York Times, and her training as a journalist pays a handsome reward in this thoroughly-researched and well-written account of Ötzi's discovery on September 21, 1991, his well-intentioned but badly flawed recovery, and his archaeological importance, as well as the academic, political, legal, and financial intrigue (almost always petty) taking place behind the scenes. 

For seven years, Fowler interviewed everyone involved with Ötzi to uncover the truth about the sometimes misreported and confusing "facts" published in the media. She also has taken a discerning look at the various personalities involved: from the austere Konrad Spindler (who became the main spokesperson concerning Ötzi--and the main recipient of the financial rewards) to the Simons (who first found the body and later wanted to be paid for their discovery) to Klaus Oeggl, a young German botanist, whose brilliant studies of Ötzi countered Spindler's own (fairly unscientific) theory.

Her hard work clearly shows: this is as much an archaeological mystery (set both in the Copper Age and the modern scientific world) as it is a record of the facts and speculations about an archaeological wonder named Ötzi. I highly recommend this book. You won't stop turning the pages--and when you're done you'll want to go visit Ötzi at his Bolzano, Italy home.

Eleven chapters, a prologue and epilogue, as well as detailed notes, a lengthy bibliography, and a thorough index. 313 pages, with 33 black and white photo plates inserted in the center of the book. The photos show Ötzi, his accessories, and many of the personalities described in the book.



Human Mummies: A Global Survey of their Status and the Techniques of Conservationby Konrad Spindler, et al (eds.) is loaded with text (as found in scientific journals) and many unusual photos illuminating not only mummies in general (and their display in museums) but specific types of mummies, including six chapters on the Ice Man. Each chapter is written by a different scientist or team of researchers, so the quality of writing varies, but it's hard to be disappointed with the overall body of work incorporated here. 

There are many prizes to be found in this book, especially in the second half (part 4-7) which contains the majority of the photos and analyses of specific mummies or mummy groups. The autopsy of the three members of the Franklin expedition, illustrated by previously unpublished photos, is one such treasure. Another is Konrad Spindler's own (rather unscientific) account of the Ice Man's last days, which " suggests" what may have happened to Ötzi based on a dramatic (mis)interpretation of the data--you may not agree completely with Spindler, but it's a fascinating story. 

Included are rare photos of Guanche mummies, bog bodies, religious mummies, and (on the cover) the mummy of Francesco Ferdinando d'Avalos, the general of Charles V's troops who defeated the army of French King François I in the 1525 Battle of Pavia (it's hard to tell from the cover photo above, but d'Avolos' cranium was stuffed with wool). 

The book has 294 over-sized pages on glossy acid-free paper. With 226 photographs and drawings, many in color.


Books for Children

The Glacier Mummy: Discovering the Neolithic Age with the Iceman by Gudrun Sulzenbacher is the most comprehensive book about Ötzi published in English for children. It is perfect for any child studying Ötzi. 

Designed like a Dorling Kindersley picture book (that is: two-page spreads with a short text summary, many photos and captions), The Glacier Mummy summarizes what is known about Ötzi in 64 pages and includes many photos taken of his various autopsies (you get to see his fingernails, his tattoos, his ear, his teeth, etc.), of his clothing (very well done in both before and after restoration shots), and of pertinent background information (his accessories, plants, even his marketing--want to see an Ötzi pizza? the book includes a photo of one). In all, the book contains 400 photos! The book is guaranteed to keep any school child researching the Iceman for quite a while. 



Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past takes a different approach and discusses in detail how the Iceman was discovered as well as his importance to the world. But this book also focuses on other discoveries of human remains as glaciers have begun to melt around the world. 

Ötzi is covered in the first two chapters. Of equal importance is the discussion of a man's body found in a Canadian glacier. Now called Kwäday Dan Ts’ìnchí, he provided scientists with a glimpse at life around the time of European contact in North America.

All around the world, from South America’s Andes Mountains to the European Alps to Asia’s Himalayas, glaciers are rapidly melting. Their disappearing ice uncovers not only the rocky terrain that has lain beneath for thousands of years, but also the long-hidden bodies of people who died in the glaciers. They may have been hunters, soldiers, shepherds, mountain climbers, dairymaids, or unfortunate travelers, and sometimes children. As their bodies are revealed, scientists study them to learn more information about the earth’s past.


Periodicals about Ötzi

The Iceman Reconsidered. Scientific American Special Edition, Februrary 2005, pp. 4-13. (25 photos, mostly in color, along with 2 maps, are included.)

Smithsonian, February 2003.

Archaeology, January/February 1999, pp. 68-71.

The New York Times, December 8, 1998, p. F3. (A photo of the medicine kit is included with the article.)