Ongoing research projects
You will find an overview of current cooperative ventures and research projects in connection with the Iceman on the website of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman (Bolzano).
In addition, the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is carrying out several own projects, in collaboration by the Innsbruck University or other institutions:
Life at the water’s edge: Mesolithic settlement in Salurn
Between 8,400 – 7,500 B.C., in the Middle Stone Age, the Galgenbühel hill in Salurn was visited numerous times by groups of hunter-gatherers. This is shown by the discovery and excavation in 1999-2002 of places were fires had been lit under a small rock roof. Numerous archaeological finds were made and, as part of the project “Life at the water’s edge. Resources, technology and mobility in Mesolithic times using the example of the Galgenbühel site in Salurn (South Tyrol)”, these finds are now undergoing review. The body responsible for the project is the South Tyrolean Museum of Archaeology, partnered by the Office for Archaeological Heritage of the Province of Bozen, with archaeologist Ursula Wierer responsible for the direction of the project.
The ongoing investigations aim to learn about the way of life of the Mesolithic population of the Etsch Valley and the reciprocal effects of the prevailing environmental conditions.
The project is being financed with the support of the Regional Office for Educational Opportunities, University and Research of the Autonomous Province of Bozen. responsable researcher: Dr. Ursula Wierer, archeologist, freelance collaborator of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
Determining the leather and hide samples found with Ötzi
We know to a large extent which animals provided the hide and leather types discovered with the Iceman, but new research methods have permitted numerous corrections. Up until now, all skins and leather samples have been macroscopically determined by animal experts, while identification tests on a protein basis have also been carried out. For some samples it was possible to determine the animal family, but not the exact species. To confirm the first results from the University of Saarland (Germany), therefore, the DNA of all leather and fur samples from Ötzi is currently being examined in collaboration with the laboratory of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano. Responsable researcher: Dr. Frank Maixner, biologist, aDNA Lab of EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman
Archaeology in the Überetsch region
This project summarises the results of the archaeological investigations in the Überetsch region.
A concluding publication gives an overview of the period of the settlement from the Middle Stone Age to the Early Middle Ages and presents the most important places of discovery and finds from the Überetsch region. The intention is to process and publish as fully as possible all existing accessible collection items. The finds originate from the Office for Archaeological Heritage, the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, the Bozen Municipal Museum, the von Mörl collections in Eppan/Appiano, the Ferdinandeum (Tyrolean regional museum) in Innsbruck (Austria) and the Museo del Buonconsiglio in Trento. The project manager is Dr. Günther Kaufmann, archaeologist at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.
Prehistoric settlement and the economy of the inner-Alpine high valleys, using the example of the Schnalstal Valley in South Tyrol
This research project aims to investigate whether the Schnalstal Valley and its side valleys were already settled in the Bronze Age (ca. 1000-2000 years after Ötzi the Iceman) or whether the users of the Schnalstal settlements originated from the Middle Vinschgau Valley.
Research over the past years has revealed Bronze Age settlements in the Schnalstal Valley and some side valleys. Unusual small finds (amber and glass beads) indicate their use by a higher social class. The use of the discovery site has been linked to a pastoral economy. The extensive pasturelands of the Schnalstal are well-suited to this purpose: there are however other reasons for frequenting the valley. The Tisenjoch and Hochjoch Passes offer direct access to the Upper Inn Valley – a bonus for travellers and traders alike, as it shortens the northwards route. The valley also contains grey copper ore and granite for the production of artefacts in the Penaudtal Valley and iron carbonate at the Taschljöchl Pass.
Interdisciplinary co-operation with palaeobotany (testing of pollens and macro-remains) and archaeozoological investigations permit the testing of archaeological finds and conclusions to be drawn about settlement and economic patterns. In addition, it is hoped to settle as-yet unresolved questions regarding the pastoral economy and discover more about prehistoric Alpine farming activities, of which relatively little is known.
The research project is a collaborative effort between the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, the Office for Archaeological Heritage of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/South Tyrol and the Institute for Botany at the University of Innsbruck. Responsabel researcher: Dr. Andreas Putzer, archeologist, freelance collaborator of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.