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Iceman Oetzi gets a new face for 20th century

Otzi the Iceman (also spelled Oetzi and known also as Frozen Fritz) in a 1991 picture. Photo: Gerhard Hinterleitner/Contrast-APA/AFP

Otzi the Iceman (also spelled Oetzi and known also as Frozen Fritz) in a 1991 picture. Photo: Gerhard Hinterleitner/Contrast-APA/AFP

Iceman Oetzi, whose mummified body was famously found frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, will get a new face for the 20th anniversary of his discovery.

As part of a new exhibit at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano (www.iceman.it), two Dutch experts – Alfons and Adrie Kennis – have made a new model of the living Oetzi, this time with brown eyes.

Indeed, recent research has shown the Iceman, now approaching the tender age of 5,300 years, did not have blue eyes as previously believed.

The Kennis model was created based on three-dimensional images of the mummy’s skeleton as well as the latest forensic technology, and will go on display on March 1 until January 15, 2012.

The Bolzano museum is also planning to improve conservation of the mummy by using pure nitrogen, which should help it keep its relatively young appearance by eliminating oxidation.

Oetzi was discovered on September 19, 1991 by a German couple in a glacier in the Oetztal Alps in South Tyrol, northern Italy.

The Iceman, who is believed to have died around the age of 45, was about 1.60 metres tall and weighed 50 kilograms, about average for his time. If he had lived today, he would have worn size 38 shoes.

But Oetzi’s notoriety has also been linked to a supposed curse surrounding the mummy, after several people – authors, researchers, even mountain guides – who came in contact with it died over the years. One of the couple who discovered Oetzi was found dead after a mountain hike in 2004.

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