A reconstruction of Ötzi the Iceman at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT CLARK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC...

After 25 years of extensive scientific research and media coverage, the Neolithic Iceman has certainly secured his place as "Europe's Oldest Celebrity." However, only now are we getting a detailed answer to the inevitable question posed to every celebrity these days: 
"Ötzi, who are you wearing?" 


Since the discovery of Ötzi the Iceman in a European glacier in 1991, scientists have recovered a wealth of information from his 5,300-year-old mummified remains: The brown-eyed, gap-toothed, tattooed man most likely spent his 40-odd years farming and herding, and was probably suffering from a painful stomach ache at the time that he died a quick—albeit violent—death in the Öztal Alps.

Understanding the choice of animals used in ancient clothing production—domestic or wild, local or imported—provides unique insights into the human past: Was the clothing worn purely for utility, or did it reflect the social status of the wearer? Were animal skins selected solely due to their availability, or were certain types of leathers and furs prized for specific qualities?

Neolithic Style: Locally Sourced
The fact that the coat was made from at least several animals belonging to at least two different species leads the researchers to conclude that the Iceman's coat was stitched together, and possibly repaired with, any hides that were handy at the time.

On the other hand, Ötzi's leggings were also crafted from domesticated goat leather, and not a species of wolf, fox or dog as previously thought. The fact that a similar pair of 6,500-year-old leggings discovered in Switzerland were also fashioned from goat leather suggests that it may have been a material deliberately chosen for its specific qualities...

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