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X-Ray Microdiffraction on a Small Piece of Skin of the World-Famous "Oetzi"

The world-famous "Oetzi" which is one of the best preserved mummified humans ever discovered (EDWARDS et al., 1996). He has been found in a glacial field in the Tyrolean Oetztaler Alps between Austria and Italy in 1991. His age is estimated to be about 5300 years. Using microdiffraction measurements on a small piece of skin (2 mm x 2 mm) an interesting mineralogical detail of the Iceman was revealed: the mineral vivianite Fe3(PO4) ·8H2O grows on the skin in contact with the surrounding weathered rocks. Vivianite is not uncommon in connection with mummies from bogs (anaerobic, nonoxidizing conditions); in the case of the Iceman this seems to be the first report of vivianite from mummified humans in glacier environment (TESSADRI et al., 1996).