Iceman - Preservation

Topics: Copper, Bronze Age, Tattoo Pages: 9 (2915 words) Published: August 30, 2005
1. Explain why the iceman was so well preserved? ( source one)

It is said that a frozen body will stay preserved over hundreds, even thousand of years. During the first stage of investigations Austrian archaeologist Konrad Spindler researched the layout which had proved that the iceman's body position and placement of weapons were preserved in the same position from when the Iceman had died, it had also been proved that the body was initially covered in a thin layer of snow which had helped complete the freeze drying process before it turned into ice. The body had been so well preserved because of the depth that the Iceman was actually lying in the ground, which was near the watershed (watershed meaning a line of high land where streams on one side flow into one river or sea and streams on the other side flow into another.) This meant that a glacier would be able to develop above him throughout the next millennia without moving his position down hill. In this position he was able to remain buried, frozen, covered and protected by the cold over a period of 5,300 years as the worlds oldest, best preserved natural mummy.
2a) What purpose do you think the tattoo served? (Source 2)

Scientists believe that the Iceman's tattoo's were first applied in 3,200 BC, the first evidence of acupuncture. Based on this information I believe that this ‘cruciform tattoo' was marked on the iceman's body in order to serve as a medical and therapeutic purpose, as it was discovered that he suffered from Acute Arthritis, Worms and Diarrhoea. Dr Frank Bahr (President of the German Academy for Acupuncture) who studies the trends and patterns of the iceman's tattoos, believes that the cruciform, meaning cross-shape, tattoo and a master point tattoo on his back were applied in order to treat rheumatism. Bahr says ""These points would still be selected by the best acupuncturists today." "It is the most common combination for treating rheumatic illness." Bahr also discovered 15 other smaller groups of tattoos marked on the Iceman's back and legs which form an ancient acupuncture chart developed in central Europe, 2000 years before china. Bahr states "I was amazed , 80% of the points correspond to those used in Acupuncture today."

2b) How does this influence previous historical concept of body art?

Body art is one of the oldest forms of creative expression known to man-kind, cave paintings date it back to almost 8000BC. The spread of tattooing although presumed to have began much earlier was first recorded in Egypt during the building of the pyramids. When the Egyptians extended their empire, tattooing extended as well to civilizations such as Crete, Greece, Persia, and Arabia. Later on in 2000BC this form of body art also reached china. With almost every culture influencing the practice of tattoo's, the concept ranged from medical purposes, branding slaves to even determining the coming out of women. Examples include:

- In ancient Greek and Rome tattooing was used in order to brand slaves and criminals. Greeks also used tattoos to identify and communicate with spies. It was during this period tattooing spread to central Europe and tattoos were used for medical purposes such as acupuncture which would later on influence the Chinese acupuncture society. - In the Marquesas islands they were applied to dignify honour and status. - Ainu people (western Asia) also used tattooing to show social status, for example a married women would have a specific tattoo. The Ainu people soon introduced tattoos to Japan who used them for religious rites - In Borneo, as a cultural tradition women were actually tattooists. They used tattooing to identify what tribe or religion a man belonged to.

3. Look at source 3 how have modern scientific research methods and...

Bibliography: Konarad Spindler (1995) The Man In The Ice, Orion Books, London
Chapter 13 Page 69-71
Toni Hurley, Philippa Medcalf, Jan Rolph (2000) Antiquity 1 Second Edition, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Chapter 1 Page 5
Chapter 10 Page 103, 104, 113
Scott Fetzer (1991) The World Book Encyclopedia, World Book Inc, Chicago London Sydney Toronto
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