Ötzi the Iceman and the Ten Essentials

On September 19, 1991, in the mountains between Austria and Italy, hikers stumbled upon the corpse of a 5,300 year-old man eroding out of a glacier. Dubbed “Ötzi” this perfectly preserved iceman is the oldest human ever found.  The Iceman stood about 5’5″ tall, and weighed about 134 lbs. He was in his mid-40s, and his strong leg muscles and overall fitness suggest that he may have spent his life herding sheep and goats in the mountains. His health was fair for the period–he had arthritis in his joints and he had whipworm – an internal parasite.

Ötzi carried tools, weapons, and containers including an animal skin quiver with arrow-shafts made of viburnum and hazel wood, sinews and spare points. A copper ax head with a yew haft and leather binding, a small flint knife and a pouch with a flint scraper and awl were all included in the artifacts found with him. He carried a yew bow. Otzi’s clothing included a belt, loincloth, and goat-skin leggings with suspenders, not unlike lederhosen. He wore a bear-skin cap, outer cape and coat made of woven grass.  His shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for the top panels, and a netting made of tree bark.  Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like modern socks.

Otzi -dagger-and-sheath

We wanted to compare what he was carrying with our list of Ten Essentials.

Flashlight Or Headlamp
Extra Food Ötzi carried some extra berries.
Extra Clothes Ötzi wore a cloak made of woven grass and a coat, a belt, a pair of leggings, a loincloth and shoes, all made of leather of different skins
Sunglasses & Sun Screen
First Aid Kit Ötzi carried two species of mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these, the birch fungus, is known to have antibacterial properties and was likely used for medicinal purposes.
Pocket Knife Or Multi Purpose Tool Ötzi carried a little flint-tipped dagger with a handle made of ash. The dagger had twin cutting edges. Ötzi would have carried it attached to his waist. It was found inside a finely braided scabbard. The dagger would have been used as a multipurpose tool, but often to skin animals, clean hides and cut meat.
Fire Starter And Matches Ötzi had a type of tinder fungus included as part of a complex fire starting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.
Water And A Way To Purify It Two birch bark baskets that could have carried water

Not bad for a 5,300 year old primitive camper.

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