Tzi the ‘Iceman’ wore the world’s first documented sheepskin coat 5,300 years ago. For the first time, scientists examined the famed mummy’s garments and discovered they were constructed from five different animals.
Brown bear for his cap, goat for his leather, and sheep for his cloak were among them. It implies that Tzi, discovered frozen in an Alps glacier a quarter-century ago, was wearing the garment more than 5,000 years before today’s hipsters.
The mummy was discovered in the Italian Alps in 1991, and two decades of research have revealed details about his lineage, nutrition, tools, lifestyle, health, and clothing. Researchers from University College Dublin examined nine samples of leather from Tzi’s garments and quiver and were able to determine the species of origin for each. The study’s lead author, Dr. Niall O’Sullivan, stated that the results “offer a surviving example of archaic industrial processes.” Scraping, exposure to fatty acids, and, in certain circumstances, extreme heating are thought to be involved. According to the findings, the bulk of the samples are from domestic species such as cattle, sheep, and goats, which are now common on farms.
‘Intriguingly, the hat and quiver samples were created from wild animals, brown bear and roe deer, respectively,’ he continued. These findings show that Copper Age cultures made deliberate garment material selections from both wild and domestic populations.’ The examination also found that his loincloth was made of sheep and his shoelace was made of cow.
Meanwhile, his quiver for hunting outings was fashioned of roe deer leather. The Iceman gives us a unique look into the everyday life and appearance of a Copper Age Alps dweller. Clothing and equipment comprised of biological materials would have dissolved long ago under typical conservation circumstances.
A significant portion of clothing had deteriorated, and when he was discovered, he was mostly nude except for his shoes. However, experts were relieved to locate any clothes at all, as this sort of material is extremely unusual. The back of his clothes was extensively destroyed as his corpse emerged from the ice, but because he was resting face down, significant sections were salvaged. Following two and a half decades of investigation that gave insights into his lineage, nutrition, tools, lifestyle, health, and wardrobe, their origins are now detailed in a publication in Scientific Reports.
Dr. O’Sullivan and colleagues established the provenance of each part of the Iceman’s surviving garments and quiver by sequencing the DNA of nine fragments of leather from his clothes and quiver. The headgear and quiver were fashioned from wild animals — brown bear and roe deer, respectively. While prior study has proven the Iceman as a farmer, the researchers believe they present evidence of wild animal hunting and trapping. They also discovered that the garment was made up of at least four hides from two different species: goat and sheep, implying a random sewing together of clothes depending on resources that were accessible.
The leggings were made of goat leather, lending credence to the theory that Copper Age humans chose animals for certain characteristics while making apparel. Otzi, said to be of Asian descent, was shot with a bow and arrow and then beaten to death while hiking over the Otztal Alps on the boundary of Austria and Italy. He was between the ages of 40 and 50.
He packed a large and efficient kit that allowed him to be self-sufficient and be away from home for extended periods of time. He may have repaired broken goods and created new ones using his tools. The Iceman was discovered wearing only his right shoe. The uppers were laced up and had fur on the exterior. To keep his feet toasty, dried tree bark was packed into the shoes.
Although they are the oldest’shoes’ ever discovered, the oldest footwear is a pair of 10,000-year-old slippers unearthed in Oregon. A grass mat was also discovered in three sections. Archaeologists first thought this was a cloak. Researchers now assume it was worn over his head as a form of protection against the rai, or maybe snow, or as a type of bag. Otzi also received 61 tattoos, each of which was a series of horizontal or vertical lines created by rubbing charcoal into perforated portions of his skin. However, the experts believe that the headgear and quiver show indications of wild animal hunting and trapping.They also discovered that his coat was constructed of at least four skins from two distinct species — goat and sheep.
This implies unplanned clothes construction based on the resources available. His leggings were similarly fashioned of goat, lending credence to the concept that Copper Age humans chose animals for certain characteristics when producing clothing. ‘These data imply Copper Age communities made thoughtful selections of garment material from both the wild and domestic populations accessible to them,’ said Dr. O’Sullivan. The Iceman was discovered.