Arrow points to foul play in ancient iceman's death

 作者:钭盾     |      日期:2019-03-06 04:04:03
By Stephanie Pain Ötzi the iceman did not die after an Alpine fall, or losing his way – he was shot in the back with an arrow. A chest X-ray and a CT scan have finally solved the mystery of how Ötzi died about 5300 years ago, says Paul Gostner, one of a team of specialists studying the mummy. The images show a flint arrowhead buried deep in Ötzi’s left shoulder, where it would have hit several large blood vessels. “If he was running he would be bleeding a lot. He probably died from loss of blood,” says Gostner, head of radiology at Bolzano General Hospital in South Tyrol, Italy, where the scan was carried out. The cause of Ötzi’s death has been a matter of intense speculation since his mummified body was discovered in a Tyrolean glacier in 1991. The man, who was between 40 and 45 years old, was warmly dressed and was well equipped for travelling high in the Alps. Yet until now the best explanation for Ötzi’s death was that he was caught out by the weather and died from hypothermia. In April, Gostner examined Ötzi in a CT scanner but found no sign of any foreign object in the body. Then three weeks ago, Ötzi was given a chest X-ray which showed the distinctive outline of the arrowhead. “So we went back to the CT images and looked again. Then we found it,” says Gostner. “The image shows the exact shape of an arrowhead and it has the consistency of stone.” He and his colleague, pathologist Eduard Egarter, then looked for the point at which the arrow hit Ötzi. They found a two-centimetre cut in the skin that matched the trajectory of the arrow. Over the past decade, specialists have investigated just about every aspect of Ötzi’s body, from his tattoos to his stomach contents. Before he was moved to his own museum in Bolzano, Ötzi was scrutinised by Konrad Spindler and a team of experts at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Those tests included X-rays and CT scans, but no one spotted the arrow. “Everyone is very surprised that such an artefact could remain hidden for 10 years,” Spindler told New Scientist. The arrowhead almost certainly eluded them because it lies between the shoulder bone and the ribs and would show only on a scan of Ötzi’s side. Spindler’s team scanned the body only from the front and back. “There’s a very small window through which to see it from the outside,” he says. So who killed Ötzi? “It’s impossible to say if he was killed by mistake or in a war or for some other reason,