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"Ice Mummies: Return of the Iceman"

PBS Airdate: November 24, 1998
Go to the companion Web site

NARRATOR: Tonight on NOVA:High in the Alps, a figure emerges from the melting ice. The oldest, most celebrated frozen mummy ever discovered. With a grass cape, a copper axe, a quiver full of arrows, after 5,000 years an all-new RETURN OF THE ICEMAN.

NARRATOR: Major funding for NOVA is provided by The Park Foundation, dedicated to education and quality television.

NARRATOR: This program is funded in part by Northwestern Mutual Life, which has been protecting families and businesses for generations. Have you heard from The Quiet Company? Northwestern Mutual Life.

NARRATOR: And by Iomega, makers of personal storage solutions for your computer, so you can create more, share more, save more and do more of whatever it is you do. Iomega, because it's your stuff.

NARRATOR: And by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and viewers like you.

NARRATOR: More than 5,000 years ago a man set out on a journey into the Alps. In these harsh reaches, fair turns to foul in the blink of an eye. Beneath a mantle of snow and ice, the man perished. His travels interrupted, his story lost. But in 1991 his journey suddenly resumed. It had been the warmest summer in recent memory, and the Alps were unusually bare. On the border between Austria and Italy, two hikers came across an unsettling sight: a body melting out of the ice. Suspecting a hiking accident, they alerted the owner of a nearby lodge.

MARKUS PIRPAMER: We've found quite a few bodies. Many climbers have accidents. Their bodies get lost in the glacier, and it usually takes 40-50 years before they come back up.

NARRATOR: A forensic team did not reach the site until days later. Ill-equipped to dig a body out of the ice, they used a ski-pole and an ice-axe borrowed from passing hikers. It appeared to be a routine assignment, until a few curious objects surfaced: a knife with a flint blade, and clumps of fur and grass. The find was growing more mysterious by the minute.

MARKUS PIRPAMER: You could see immediately that this was no ordinary glacial mummy.

NARRATOR: The body was rushed to the University of Innsbruck in Austria. By the time he arrived, the Iceman had become a sensation—a mute celebrity with an amazing story to tell. Judging from a primitive metal-bladed axe found with the body, archaeologist Konrad Spindler estimated the mummy was about 4,000 years old—the oldest frozen body ever discovered. News of the find swept the globe.

DAN RATHER: "For 4,000 years he rested in peace. Now, suddenly, his is the most celebrated cadaver since King Tut."

NARRATOR: The discovery promised to shed new light on the obscure beginnings of European civilization.

KONRAD SPINDLER: Of particular importance here is that he was not lying in a grave, he had not been buried. He came to us straight from his everyday life. So he provided information about that period which is normally always closed to us in archaeology. For us that was so surprising, so fascinating.

NARRATOR: Miraculously, ice had preserved not only the body, but the equipment the Iceman had with him when he died—ordinary possessions rendered priceless by time: a bead with rawhide strings...two dried mushrooms on leather straps...finely stitched clothing made from animal unfinished bow taller than the Iceman himself...and remnants of a boot stuffed with grass still tied to one foot. Excavation of the site a few days later turned up more archaeological treasure: a cape made of grass...and a nearly intact quiver still full of arrows. But before scientists could begin their work, disaster struck. The Iceman had to be hustled into a freezer in the basement of the university because he had thawed and fungus was growing on his skin. Since then, the Iceman has rarely been removed from his icy quarters, and only for 30 minutes at a time. Still, after years of work by an international team of scientists, a portrait of this mysterious time-traveler is finally emerging. The first question scientists had to tackle was the Iceman's age. Could he really be 4,000 years old? To find out, small samples of bone were removed for radiocarbon dating. Like all living things, bone contains a form of carbon called carbon-14. When an organism dies, that carbon begins to decay at a precise rate like a clock ticking away into eternity. By measuring the amount of carbon-14 that remains in the body, scientists can calculate when the organism died. Amazingly, the original age estimate was off my more than a thousand years. The Iceman was a staggering 5,300 years old. That placed him in the Late Stone Age—far earlier in time than anyone expected. In movies, the Late Stone Age is usually portrayed as violent and primitive—unchanging for millions of years. But the Iceman brings us face to face with the real Stone Age, a period of human evolution when our ancestors relied on stone for tools and weapons. For much of the Stone Age, people subsisted by hunting and gathering. They were constantly on the move, following the migrations of wild animals. But late in the Stone Age, or Neolithic, a revolution occurred. Agriculture took root and villages arose. The Iceman lived iat the end of the Neolithic, just as metal was beginning to replace stone for tools and weapons. Archaeologists assumed that happened about 4,000 years ago in this region. But the Iceman with his copper axe was 5,000 years old—proof that the transition from the Neolithic to the Copper Age happened much earlier than previously thought. Within weeks of his discovery, the Iceman had become a local celebrity. He was nicknamed Otzi for the region of the Alps where he had been found. Now he was the subject of song as well as science. But Fame had its price. There were rumors the Iceman had been castrated. A special forensic examination had to be carried out to prove the Iceman was still intact. The Iceman also became the subject of an international custody battle. It was only resolved when a team of surveyors determined that the body had not been found in Austria, but about 300 feet inside the Italian border. After much negotiation, Austria agreed to return the body to Italy in three years. With the Iceman's modern nationality settled, the mystery of where he came from 5,300 years earlier still lingered. So few Neolithic sites have been found in the area that archaeologists had little to go on. For clues to his origin, they turned to the raw materials he used for his belongings: in particular, flint. Many prehistoric flint objects found in this part of Europe come from a region of Italy just south of the Alps. Recently, Konrad Spindler led a dig here, to determine whether flint had been mined in this area in the Iceman's time.

KONRAD SPINDLER: It turned out that this flint contains various types of micro-fossils which give this flint a very particular fingerprint. On this site we also found a mine. Investigations show that the flint contained here exactly the same quantity of micro-fossils as the Iceman's flint.

NARRATOR: Spindler was on the right track: the similarity indicates that the Iceman's flint came from this region. But this does not mean that the Iceman did too.

KONRAD SPINDLER: Flint artifacts of the exact same quality have been found as far away as southern Germany, at distances of between 300 and 400 kilometers. That is how far away the flint was traded. We assume there were actual flint merchants at that time who had to cross the Alps to do this.

NARRATOR: So the Alps were less of a barrier than previously thought. But why was the Iceman here? Where had he come from? In search of more clues, scientists returned a year later to the site where the Iceman was found. They melted all the snow in the area, filtering out more than 800 pounds of material.

KLAUS OEGGL: This here is just around about 5—at least 5 percent—of the total botanical remains. We have....There is a big variety within these samples because we find not only botanical remains, we also find beetles, we find insects in there, we even find fur remains, or feathers, or even whole wings of birds can be found within the sediments. Sometimes I feel like a forensic detective. You never know what you find.

NARRATOR: Scientists at Innsbruck University's botanical department have been meticulously sifting and sorting this ancient debris. From even the tiniest scraps, the botanists have been able to draw startling conclusions about the Iceman.

KLAUS OEGGL: This grain came out from the washing residues from his clothes. They most probably stuck to his clothing and you can see that they are perfectly preserved. These wheat spikelets derive from einkorn, which is a primitive wheat which was commonly grown during Neolithic within the region. He used it for unleavened bread or cooking porridge or a soup. This einkorn comes from an agricultural community because these spikelets, these two spikelets, show that they were processed. You can see that here this spikelet here is broken... and the spikelets don't stick together if they are separated from each other and this cultivated species is only separated by threshing, so this is a processed corn.

NARRATOR: An ancient form of wheat. Unmistakable evidence of threshing. The Iceman had clearly been in contact with an agricultural community. But where was that community? North or south of the Alps? Among the material recovered from the site the botanists may have found the answer.

KLAUS OEGGL: Well, we found some moss remains in the samples and found out that mainly the species derived from the southern regions, which lead us to the assumption that he was coming from the south.

NARRATOR: Some scientists believe these insights might lead them to the area where the Iceman once lived.

TORSTEIN SJOVOLD: In this region only one major site has been found, and that is where you have the Castle Juval (yu-VAL) at present, and we are very close to that point now. That site has been populated since Middle Stone Age, and also later during the Iceman's period, the Copper Age. And as the name indicates, now you have a castle there.

NARRATOR: The ancient sites around Castle Juval are only five miles south of where the Iceman was found—close enough to have been his home.

TORSTEIN SJOVOLD: I think he came from down here because I don't think there was very much effort to go from here to the place that he was found, because it might be done within a day. And coming from a northern valley in Tyrol—that would take days because it's about 70-75 kilometers.

NARRATOR: The efforts of another team of scientific detectives confirm that the Iceman spent his life in this steep alpine terrain.

DIETER ZUR NEDDEN: Many clues point to the joints having been heavily used. This man walked a great deal and perhaps, Horst, you can tell us your theory about strain on the lower leg.

HORST SEIDLER: Signs of this extreme physical stress are emphasized in this cross-section of the shin and fibula. This typical narrow pointed shape is a clue, indicative of lifelong physical strain, which can leave clues in the bone structure.

DIETER ZUR NEDDEN: We also noticed that on the little toe is a slightly darker area typical of chilblains. These are produced by frostbite, a condition we frequently see in high-altitude climbers.

NARRATOR: And the body holds more clues—strange marking on the skin—tattoos.

TORSTEIN SJOVOLD: If you look at his right lower leg, at the ankle, there were three tattooed lines. Looking further up here there are three lines—being here—and actually these lines were discovered by using infrared photography. If you look at his back there are some tattoos that were found on the left side on the back, and these tattoos were at locations where he could not see them himself, so somebody else must have applied them. And this seems to have been some very ancient form of medical treatment or, you may say, healing.

KONRAD SPINDLER: We know of 57 tattoos on the body of the Iceman. And we know from primitive peoples that tattoos are not just used as adornment or insignia, but also for therapy. People apply tattoos to painful spots to soothe pain or to heal. And we have to assume this with the Iceman because the radiological studies, especially on these joints, have shown there were low to medium arthritic changes.

NARRATOR: Painstakingly restored, the Iceman's equipment completes the picture of a man highly adapted to mountain living. His waterproof grass cape—leather utility belt full of tools—even a lightweight frame backpack.

KONRAD SPINDLER: The Iceman's equipment is superbly designed for such activity. He had all the necessary tools. He also had replacement materials: leather straps, sinew material. When something broke he was self-sufficient and was able to repair it himself. In such an extreme environment this is vital even today.

NARRATOR: Life in the Iceman's time is vividly evoked for the public by archaeologists at this museum in Denmark.

HARM PAULSEN: Long ago, in the Neolithic time of the Alps, they have had long bows. They could shoot nearly 180 meters. These arrows can kill bears and wolves. They have found bones, human bones, with arrow points in, flint arrow points in, so it's not only a hunting weapon it's also a real weapon.

NARRATOR: By building replicas of traditional tools and learning how to use them these archaeologists fill in gaps in the record. Reconstructions of the Iceman's arrows reveal an advanced understanding of ballistics and flight.

HARM PAULSEN: The Iceman, he has used three feathers on it. That's like today, the sport archers, they have also three feathers on it. And that is the same as when today you have a rocket with these wings on it. I fix the feather two times with the tar and second time with the thread. I have to open here, and then I turn it in that way so it goes in that way as a spiral around the arrow. I think the arrows are very solid. Look, when you have an arrow like this here you can bend it. It cannot break in a quiver. The quiver: that's the first time we have a complete equipment of a person. Especially the bow equipment. We have found single arrows and single bows, but we didn't know what bow belonged to what arrow, and here we have not only the bow and the arrows, we have the quiver, and that was very special. Here you can—this quiver protects the flights here—we can close it. We have never expected that the Iceman has had such a beautiful construction.

NARRATOR: Equally unexpected was the great variety of wood the Iceman used to make his equipment—each kind still found in the Alps today. Yew for the bow and axe handle, hazel for the backpack frame, larch for its supports, and ash for the dagger handle.

KONRAD SPINDLER: If you think about it, his equipment contained 18 different types of wood. This means that for every tool that he used—the axe handle, the knife handle, the arrow shafts—he sought out the most suitable material. And this is knowledge we've forgotten today.

NARRATOR: More evidence of the Iceman's skills was detected in strands of his hair found near the body. By analyzing the different elements in the hair researchers are uncovering tantalizing details about the Iceman's life.

DIANE DE KERCKHOVE: The first thing that we did with the hair was to look at it lengthwise to look at the surface of the hair. After that, we scanned across these slices of hair, and you can distinguish between surface contamination and metabolized elements which tend to concentrate more along the center of the hair. We found copper particles on the surface and when we sliced the hair we found that the copper was indeed localized quite strongly on the surface of the hair, and we also found arsenic which is equally unusual and that's not a traditionally—that's not found in normal human hair to the detection limits of our instrument. We can't—You don't usually see any arsenic.

NARRATOR: The Iceman's hair was covered in copper and on the inside, it contained arsenic levels today found only in people with chronic arsenic poisoning. But could the hair have been contaminated by trace elements in the soil? Absorbed as the Iceman froze? To find out, the team did the same tests on deer hair from his equipment.

DR. GEOFF GRIME: If you assume that the basic structure of the deer hair and human hair is similar, then any contaminants in the local environment will be absorbed equally by the deer hair and the human hair, but in fact we found that the deer hair contained relatively small levels of copper and no arsenic. These are unusually high copper levels for natural contamination. He would have had to have been buried in the outflow from a copper mine or something to have obtained copper levels like this. We haven't seen anything like this in any other modern or archaeological hair that we've analyzed.

DIANE DE KERCKHOVE: And certainly the fact that this deer hair doesn't have these same peaks of copper —

GEOFF GRIME: That's right, yes.

DIANE DE KERCKHOVE: —indicates that this is something that was particular to him during his life and not so much contamination after he was buried.

GEOFF GRIME: It must mean he'd been exposed over a long period perhaps to arsenic vapor or arsenic dust. And arsenic is a common contaminant of copper ores, so it sort of raises the question then, was this man involved in actually melting copper ores and breathing arsenic vapor?

NARRATOR: Do copper and arsenic in the hair mean the Iceman made the copper axe found with him? Copper was not known to be in use in the Alps as early as 5000 years ago. So, archaeologists are exploring this region for evidence of ancient copper mining.

BRIGITTE RIESER: We are trying to reconstruct mining as it was done then, and with the tools which we know were available at that time. Erosion has shattered the stone on the surface and this made it easier to extract. So they probably started mining here. It is certain that they found malachite, the green stone which contains copper ore.

NARRATOR: Copper ore suggests the site might have been a mine. But other evidence nearby doesn't yield its secrets quite as readily.

BRIGITTE RIESER: The stones found on the slag heaps here have a typical grooved or notched appearance. And they're flattened on one side.

NARRATOR: What is the meaning of these bands carved into the rocks?

HANSPETER SCHRATTENTHALER: To recreate how they worked in those days you must build the stone-cutters and the axes and use them.

NARRATOR: They learned that to make hammers out of these stones, they had to carve a groove around the rock to tie it to the handle. These may have been copper mining tools from the Iceman's time.

BRIGITTE RIESER: There's been a huge amount of research in the last few years. Mines of that period are being discovered everywhere.

NARRATOR: Mining copper is one thing; making it into an axe-head is much more difficult.

DR. GERHARD SPERI: I try to smelt copper from a copper ore, from malachite and copper oxide in a crucible. It's shape was used in Neolithic time. We have very good examples. We need 1100 degrees to liquefy the copper here.

NARRATOR: This is a tricky business. To get the fire hot enough takes plenty of air. But too much air can spoil the entire process.

GERHARD SPERI: The most dangerous thing for casting copper is to have too much oxygen in it for you can hammer it, sharpen it, even when it is very soft, it will break. And this is the problem of the ancient copper caster.

NARRATOR: As copper melts, it releases arsenic vapor. Is this how the Iceman got the arsenic poisoning that showed up in his hair? The final step in this process is to pour the copper into a mold.

GERHARD SPERI: Done... The only problem is the mold is broken now and therefore unfinished now. Only the half. You can see the copper penetrate the seam. The seam was too broad. But this piece, you didn't see any bubble. That means no oxygen in it. We did it perfectly from the modern point of view of melting. It's a pity. We have to repeat it. I have the experience of, let me say, 20 experiments and the Iceman or his craftsman he knew this for some 100 times. Yes. This is the big difference I think. Yes?

NARRATOR: Making an axe blade like the Iceman's is much easier using more up to date techniques.

DR. BARBARA OTTAWAY: We're going to produce a copper axe which is exactly the same in proportion and in composition as the Iceman's axe. We are cheating in many ways because we have all the (inaudible). We have a gas-fired furnace. We have copper ready made. We are using this wooden model which is based on the Iceman's axe. All the tools that you've seen here would have been different. So we are compromising material, but in principle, the result would have been the same for the Iceman as it is for us.

NARRATOR: Archaeologists turned to modern technology to produce replicas of the Iceman's axe that can be tested and studied.

BARBARA OTTAWAY: This is what the final object would have looked like. All the ones that have entered archaeological record have been polished. Now, that is a lot of elbow grease; with sandstone first of all to get the smooth surface off and then with sand and water and you end up with a beautiful axe like this.

NARRATOR: But what did the Iceman actually do with his axe? Copper is a very soft metal that dulls easily. Archaeologists disagree over how useful the Iceman's copper axeblade really was.

HANSPETER SCHRATTENTHALER: Personally, I prefer the copper axe to the flint axe. We tried both. The copper axe doesn't splinter and it's easier to sharpen. You can re-hammer it to get an edge. You can't do that with a flint axe; it breaks.

HARM PAULSEN: This stone axe has a broader angle and you have seen that I can't do this here because it doesn't go in because the angle is very wide here. And so, I have to work in a very flat angle, so. But this is copper and you see the angle is much thinner than the stone axe and then so I can go deeper in.

BARBARA OTTAWAY: It couldn't have been used for any length of time because a copper axe like that is too soft; it would bend over after 20 minutes without hardening, without being alloyed. You can see it on this one. These are experimental axes. You have to ignore the large chinks. But if you look at that section here, it bends over like this after half an hour use. So it couldn't have been entirely for hard use. It must have been also a multi-purpose tool.

TORSTEIN SJOVOLD: Well, I would say that the copper axe is not practical at all because copper is so soft.

BRIGITTE REISER: It may be softer than flint, but it can be hardened by hammering and it can be reforged many times. It doesn't break as easily.

DR. MARK EDMONDS SYNC: I think experiments have shown that in fact, again in practical terms, there aren't that many big differences in terms of the amount of use that one can get out of these materials. I think the differences may have much more to do with the meaning or significance that people attributed to metal as opposed to stone.

NARRATOR: These stone carvings, found in the Alps, hint at the broader significance of the Iceman's axe.

ANNALUISA PEDROTTI: These stones appear in the Alpine area more or less at the same time as the use of copper. We don't really know precisely what they represented, but it is likely they represented eminent people, important people, to whom were perhaps also attributed divine powers.

NARRATOR: The carvings on these large stones seem to suggest that the Iceman's axe was more than just a simple tool.

ANNALUISA PEDROTTI: The axes drawn on these stones are practically identical to the one which we found near the Iceman. I think this type of axe has a special significance. It must have represented a form of status symbol for that society. The power of the individual may have been underlined by the number and type of weapons the male owned. It is a period when status symbols, which is what the axe may be, are important. The representation of axes on the rocks tells me that particular attention was reserved for this type of object.

KONRAD SPINDLER: The view that it was a sort of a cult axe, a sort of status symbol, can be discarded by now. Exact metallurgical research of the axe-head has shown that it was an excellent item. It could be used as a tool or as a weapon.

MARK EDMONDS: If as archaeologists, all we can say is, this is an axe and it's made of copper, then really we're saying so little; we're saying nothing about human history, nothing about personalities, nothing about the nature of society at the time. Can you imagine what it would be like to see one for the first time. I mean, the way these things catch the light, not only would this have been dramatic, but also it would have been mysterious. You may not know where it came from and you may not know how it was made. The technology, the knowledge required may have been restricted magic. It may have been sacred knowledge.

NARRATOR: From the moment the Iceman was found, the most enduring mystery has been what he was doing on top of a mountain. The most plausible clues come from an ancient tradition still practiced today. The Iceman was discovered at the end of a long valley that pushes north from the plains of Italy. Every spring local shepherds drive their flocks up this valley and over the high pass to summer pastures in the north.

MARKUS PIRPAMER: In the south it is often dry. And so for centuries the animals, sheep or goats, have been taken north. And then in the Autumn, they are taken back. That's still how it's done today. It was probably the same in the Iceman's day.

NARRATOR: The route the sheep take today passes far from where the Iceman was found, but this path was only carved in the last century with dynamite. The ancient route would have taken them right past his body. The Iceman could well have been a shepherd who perished tending his flock. This does not explain how he died, though. In search of the answer to this question, scientists have poked and prodded every inch of the Iceman's body; inside and out. This team is making a small incision in the torso to insert an endoscope. With this instrument, they extract tiny samples from his gut. And learn that his last meal was meat and einkorn, the ancient form of wheat. But researchers have been allowed to remove very few pieces of the Iceman's organs. Not nearly enough to satisfy scientific curiosity. Undaunted, they have had to find other ways of studying the Iceman without damaging his body. One of the Iceman's fingernails, which had fallen off in the ice, was analyzed for clues to the cause of his demise.

LUIGI CAPASSO: The nail told us a lot. Much more than we expected, to be honest. If the body is put under stress for a long time, it can arrest the growth of the nail. It is very interesting to see that 60, 80 and 120 days before the man's death, there are lines of excessive cell formation on the nail. This is evidence he experienced stress several times, suggesting he was affected by a systemic recurring disease which was serious and which lasted long enough to leave its mark. And I think that the first thing is to do research, even DNA testing, to look for a micro-organism that could have caused this kind of infectious disease.

NARRATOR: Some scientists wonder whether the Iceman's mushrooms on leather strings indicate he was fighting some kind of disease.

LUIGI CAPASSO: In this region, this mushroom is used as tinder. However, this same mushroom also produces antibiotics. Not only that, but the antibiotics remain in the flesh of the mushroom for a long time after the mushroom has died. It suggests that this particular mushroom could have been recognized by people of that time as a therapy for infectious diseases.

NARRATOR: Still more evidence of health problems emerged in x-rays of the Iceman's body.

DIETER ZUR NEDDEN: We have found massive calcification in the aorta area of the stomach. We also found massive calcification in the brain's blood supply. I believe this was caused by fat deposits in the walls of the blood vessels, which led to hardening of the arteries. This was the result of a metabolic condition like high cholesterol.

NARRATOR: The Iceman's hardened arteries turned out to be less surprising after tiny pieces of his bones were analyzed.

KONRAD SPINDLER: Micro samples were prepared and the structure of the bone was examined and evaluated. He turned out to be older than had been thought. The anthropologists believe he was at least 45 years old. In other words, quite a great age for that era.

NARRATOR: The discovery of broken ribs presents another tantalizing scenario.

NARRATOR: The Iceman's hardened arteries turned out to be less surprising after tiny pieces of his bones were analyzed.

SPINDLER: Micro samples were prepared and the structure of the bone was examined and evaluated. He turned out to be older than had been thought. The anthropologists believe he was at least 45 years old. In other words, quite a great age for that era.

NARRATOR: The discovery of broken ribs presents another tantalizing scenario.

NEDDEN: It is quite possible that perhaps two or three weeks before his death there was an accident where he broke his ribs. But, they may have been broken during the recovery or in the course of thousands of years under the pressure of the ice. We can only say they're fractures—five or six in a row, many of which haven't healed.

NARRATOR: If they could study the fractures more thoroughly scientists could learn more about they occurred.

SEIDLER: The problem is that you need a piece of bone one or two centimeters long, and we're unlikely to be allowed to remove such a large piece of the mummy.

NARRATOR: Luckily, some of the most advanced techniques for examining a body are the least invasive. Recently, 5000 CAT scans were combined to produce a computerized three-dimensional image of Iceman. Immediately, this raised new questions about the Iceman's last moments.

NEDDEN: For instance, there is a region of the brain which has a completely different density. Whether this is caused by shrinkage or maybe a stroke, we can only determine by removing organic matter.

NARRATOR: Or perhaps there was no stroke, and the Iceman was simply a victim of the harsh alpine weather.

PIRPAMER: It can change very suddenly—cold fronts and so on. Within one or two hours, the temperature can fall 15 degrees. It can get foggy too. Then it's very easy to get lost. It happened to me. I've been up to my hut every year for the last 16 years. I must have walked this path several hundred times. And then one day I was unable to find my own hut in the fog.

NARRATOR: Maybe the Iceman also got lost in the fog on a journey into the high mountains.

PAULSON: But then something happens. Very soon it started to snow. He couldn't escape there because it was dark and he can't find a way in the darkness and during the show. So he had to wait until the snow storm was over. But it didn't stop. He waited. He was afraid himself. He knew that when he will fell asleep he will be dead, because then he will be killed by frost and ice. Then it happened—he fell asleep. And that was the last time he fell asleep. Very often it happened. The ice is full of people who have fallen down the mountains, or they died there. That's an old story.

NARRATOR: Five thousand three hundred years after the Iceman took his last breath, he was on the move again. In early 1998, Austria turned the body over to Italy. In keeping with his celebrity, the Iceman had an armored truck and military escort for his final trip over the Alps. The Iceman's long journey finally ended in the Northern Italian town of Bolzano, just a few miles from where scientists think he once lived. The Italians have waited years for the Iceman to come home. They spent 10 million dollars on a special museum and gave him a hero's welcome. And it is here in this museum that the Iceman has found his final resting place. In a custom-built, climate-controlled freezer, he will be preserved for science and displayed to the curious public. But the Iceman will always be more than just a tourist attraction.

SPINDLER: In my view, the studies of the Iceman will never end because science is constantly developing. There are always new approaches to research. Colleagues in 50 years will still have much to learn from the Iceman.

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NARRATOR: We can tell the story by looking at the way the earliest Christians thought about Jesus.

On the edge of the millennium, Front Line takes on one of the epochal events of Western civilization. The story of how the death of one man changed the world.

Watch "From Jesus to Christ" on Frontline.


Return of the Iceman

Narration Written by
Joseph McMaster

Produced by
Tim Haines
Joseph McMaster

Stacy Keach

Associate Producer
Jan Klimkowski

Alice Forward
Stephanie Munroe

John Adderley

Sound Recording
Julian Baldwin

Brenda Fowler

Coproduction Coordinator
Stephen Sweigart

Production Assistant
Andrea Cross

Assistant Sound Editor
Robert Todd

Sound Mix
Colin Martin
John Jenkins

Online Editors
Marc Eskenazi
Bernie Clayton

Post Production Online Editor
Mark Steele

Lorraine Grant


Unit Manager, BBC/Horizon
Shirley Escott

Executive Editor, BBC/Horizon
John Lynch

Archival Materials
Spiegel TV

Judy Braha
Pat Dougan
Doug Griffin
Peter Haydu
Paul Horn
J. Scott MacLellan
Phillip Patrone

Special Thanks
London Marriott Grosvenor Square
Assessment Services Environment Test Facility
Office for Archaeological Heritage, Trento

NOVA Series Graphics
National Ministry of Design

NOVA Theme
Mason Daring
Martin Brody

Closed Captioning
The Caption Center

Production Secretaries
Queene Coyne
Linda Callahan

Paul Marotta
Thalassa Skinner
Diane Buxton

Unit Managers
Jessica Maher
Cesar Cabral

Nancy Marshall

Business Manager
Laurie Cahalane

Post Production Assistant
Franziska Blome

Associate Producer
Post Production
Carla Fremlin

Post Production Editor
Rebecca Nieto

Post Production Supervisor
Mark Geffen

Senior Editor
Program Development
Stephen Lyons

Senior Science Editor
Evan Hadingham

Senior Producer
Coproductions and Acquisitions
Melanie Wallace

Managing Director
Alan Ritsko

Executive Producer
Paula S. Apsell

A BBC/Horizon NOVA/WGBH Co-production
© 1997 BBC
© 1998 WGBH Educational Foundation
All rights reserved.


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