National Geographic : 1993 Jun
ROUGH RECOVERY Four days almost undid 5,000 years of preservation as res cuers manhandled an archaeo logical treasure. Assuming they had found an accident victim, climbers trampled the depression where the Iceman lay (map, left). Trying to free the body, a policeman summoned to the 10,530-foot site on the Austrian-Italian border tore into the left hip with a jackhammer. Finally a forensic team from Innsbruck, Austria, arrived. Workers digging with ski poles (right) scattered the Iceman's garments. The genitals were missing, possibly broken off when the coroner and an assistant lifted the corpse (far right). Not until archaeologists viewed the body and belongings in a lab was the Iceman's antiquity revealed. Despite the damage, the body, still wearing a grass-stuffed boot (below), was amazingly intact, virtually unharmed by the glacier that had slid over the trench where it lay.