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Ötzi The Iceman discovery site location map

On Thursday, September 19, 1991, at about 1.30 p.m. on a sunny afternoon Erika and Helmut Simon, from Nuremberg in Germany, were enjoying a vacation walking through icy and rock-strewn terrain high up on a mountain overlooking the Ötz valley in the Alpine borderlands between Austria and Italy.

On their descent from a peak near Tisenjoch they strayed a little from the recommended route in the hope of finding a short cut and, as they traversed an elevated plateau near a retreating mountain glacier at some 3210 meters above sea level, they passed a gully filled with thawing ice and melt-water within which they noticed something unusual. Further investigation showed this object to be an actual human corpse.

These remains, originally thought to be those of a mountaineer or hill-walker who had died on the mountain in comparatively recent times, ultimately became famous as belonging to Otzi or Oetzi - "The Iceman" - who died some 5,300 years ago!!!

The above map shows the location of the discovery site of Otzi the Iceman. In terms of geography Otzi was found in the Alps. In terms of modern political geography he was found just inside the Italian border with Austria and not too far from Switzerland.

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The map already shown might not do full justice to the circumstances of the Oetzi discovery as the find spot, marked in red and in German as Fundstelle, is quite high in the mountains.
Some human figures to the bottom left of the picture give an idea of the scale of this mountainous scene.

Oetzi Findspot picture © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology / Photo by Marco Samadelli.

An Otzi memorial has been erected quote close to the actual map location of the discovery find spot
(and is visible bottom right of the previous landscape picture).

The monument bears a plaque which reads:-

Firstly about the location - in the largely German-speaking Sud-Tirol in Italy.

Then about the mountain, Tisenjoch, and elevation (3210 Meters), and that 70 Meters distant in a north-easterly direction lies the find-spot of the "Mannes vom Similaun" - famously known of in the English-speaking world as Otzi the Iceman.

Then about the date of the find (19.09.1991) and the age of the Oetzi the Iceman discovery (circa, or in the region of, 5,300 years old).

Otzi before his recovery from the ice in 1991


The actual find spot of the discovery is a high mountain glacial gully. Which is not as bad as it might seem - it probably helped to protect Otzi from the weight of shifting glacial ice over those five millenia until he was discovered. Glaciers actually "flow" downhill and, but for the walls of this gully, Otzi's remains would have flowed with this particular glacier.

This page was about the map location the discovery. Much more detail about Otzi the Iceman is available on another of our pages:-

Ötzi / Oetzi - The Iceman of the Alps - pictures images


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