Otzi the Iceman

In September 1991 a frozen mummy was found of a man who lived about 3,300BCE in the Otzal Alps, on the border between Austria and Italy. He became known as Otzi the Iceman and represents Europe's oldest naturally preserved mummy. 



Otzi was shown on x-ray examination to have osteoarthritis and other degenerative changes to his spine, knee and ankles. On close examination he was also found to have carbon tattoos in short parallel lines on both sides of the lumber spine, a cross behind the right knee and various marks around his ankles.



It has been speculated that these marks may represent early attempts at treating pain using acupressure or acupuncture-type techniques. If this is so then it predates the earliest recorded use of acupuncture in China by 2,000 years.

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