5000-years-old Crime Novel

The Museum’s name is South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. It’s situated in the cute and beautiful city with two names – one name is Bolzano, other is Bozen.

The city is the capital of the wonderful autonomous province that covers a part of the Italian Alps. Although this area is a part of Italy, a large majority of its inhabitants speak German as their first/native language. While the German name of this province is Sudtirol, Italian name is Alto Adige while in English it’s called South Tyrol – just like the museum. Therefore the city is called Bolzano in Italian and Bozen in German.

I was in the city for the first time. Ask anyone from the region what to visit first in Bolzano – they will tell you that the Archaeological Museum should be your first choice. Heavy Metal is a kind of the highlight of this museum, and you will soon learn why.

South Tyrol Archaeological Museum
Forget pyramids and Stonehenge. We have something older for you.

A Prehistoric Crime Novel

It was in 1991 when a couple of holidaymakers from Germany found a human corpse deeply hidden in the ice, while mountain hiking on a location named Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley, at about 3200 meters above sea level. Frightened by their discoveries, they reported it to the landlord of the nearest mountain refuge. It was the beginning of a huge, real-life, crime novel.

Do you remember the story of the Belgian underwater photographer who found a bronze Greek statue on the bottom of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia? This story is even more intriguing. The German holidaymakers did not find just a statue, they found a real body. It was not only 2000-years old, but it was 5300-years old already. He got the name Ötzi. He is older than the Pyramids of Egypt and the Stonehenge.

His body became mummified naturally. Obviously, the ancient Egyptians did not have the luxury to mummify the same way.

See also: 7 Untold Stories from European Archaeology

He lived in this area in the copper age and worked with metals, but further details about his status haven’t been determined yet. At that time there were many cultures, each of them developing different techniques of metal production and art, while the highest ranks in these societies belonged to shamans. Who knows, Ötzi could be a shaman. Aged 45, he was an old man for that time and his health was damaged because of working with heavy metals. What happened to him? Why did he die in such a remote place in the mountains? Would he stay at home is he was sick?

Liked this trailer? 😀

Visit the museum and get involved into a Crime Novel. The long and deep works of research made lots of things clear, and the museum did a nice job presenting it to the visitors.

South Tyrol Archaeological Museum
This museum has live plants for representing the Alpine vegetation and understanding the Prehistoric context.


How to visit this museum?

First, take your time to understand the whole context. On the ground floor, there is a timeline of research about the Ötzi. By going upstairs to the first floor, you will be on the main site. The Ötzi can be seen here, along with his belongings – clothing and equipment.

Note that it’s not allowed to take photos on the floor where the mummy is situated. Thanks to the courtesy of the Museum’s photo archives policy, I have a picture of the site where he was found, and a picture of him, placed inside his refrigerated chamber containing particular micro-climate. The third picture of this grid is his clothing. I spent quite a long time observing these clothes and wondering how it could survive so many years in the ice 😀

© South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

There are some important security qualities the Otzi’s chamber possesses. First of all, no electric failure can put his preserving at risk. Two diesel aggregates start supplying the system with electricity within 12 seconds from the failure. Theft is impossible, as well as fire damage – the system has alarms directly connected to the police and firefighters of Bolzano. Any emergency service can reach the Museum within a minute. You can learn more about the system, in the museum, as there are great explanation labels I really enjoyed to read.

Another archaeological museum: Design Makes Difference

The second and third floors are all about Heavy Metal!

Just kidding.There are lots of educational contents about metallurgy, biology, etc., as you can see on the picture above this chapter. At the end of my visit, I found the museum’s personnel doing explanations about the use of copper. They had some items on the table, to show the common use of copper.

The use of copper
How is the copper is used today?

This Museum is easy to find and takes you about one hour and a half of relaxed visit. It will be interesting to professionals from many areas – from History, to Earth Sciences.

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
This statue was made by artists, as a piece of imagination about the Otzi’s appearance.

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