Radiocarbon dating of the iceman

Radiocarbon dating of the iceman

In 1991, a group of hikers exploring the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border came across the mummified corpse of a person half-entombed in ice.Because the find was at an elevation of 10,530 feet, the group initially suspected that the remains belonged to a lost mountaineer.

The story began on a sunny September day, when two hikers were traversing a mountain pass at the 3210-meter (10,530 foot) level and saw a brown, leathery shape protruding from the ice amidst running melt-water.He lived at least ten years in the Vinschgau prior to his death. Among the clothing and items found with the mummy, one of the most important pieces is the copper-bladed axe.Archaeological experiments showed that the axe could fell a yew tree in 35 minutes without sharpening. Ötzi's body is covered with over 50 tattoos made with fine incisions into which charcoal was rubbed.The pollen showed that he died in the spring or early summer. Analysis of the isotopic composition of Ötzi's tooth enamel and bones suggest that the man was born and lived in what is now South Tyrol.He probably spent his childhood in the upper Eisack Valley or the lower Puster Valley.

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Nuclear physics is important in a vast variety of situations, from understanding how the Sun provides the energy for life on this planet, to nuclear power plants and radiation therapy.

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