National Geographic : 2007 Jul
Perfect conditions-glacialmeltwater,drying wind and sun, and blanketing snow and ice preserved and mummified the Iceman's body, and the high ravineprotected it as a glaciergrew overhead.Exceptionallywarm weather eventually melted the ice and allowed him to be found. two or three days-earlier," said Egarter Vigl. "The time had come where his opponents had become stronger," Leitner speculates, "but he didn't recognize that his reign was coming to an end and was holding on to his position." Leit ner says that after the fight in the village, "It looks as if the Iceman was planning to flee and that his trip was brought to an end by his opponents." The previous, erroneous theories about the Iceman's demise remind us that much of the current speculation, while plausible, must stand up in the face of continuing research. Above all, this tale of an enigmatic and bloody death atop a desolate alpine ridge is a story about remarkable scientific insight brought to bear on the skimpiest of clues-a fingernail here, a milligram of food residue there, a few grains of pollen-in order to reconstruct a riveting scene of Neolithic noir. Although not a single grunt or cry has passed through the Iceman's mummified lips in more than 5,000 years, the ongoing investigation continues to tell us new and startling things about life-and death-in the Stone Age. [ Inside the Iceman Get an update on the life and death of this Neolithic hunter in an interactive exploration of his remains at ngm.com/0707. ICEMAN 81 8": *^' ,<.