Diana Lawrenson

— Writer —

Diana Lawrenson Pages to Places Blog

Welcome to my blog that takes you from pages to places. Come and discover some quirky, little-known, or loose-but-relevant links from books to places around the world. You might even like to add a book suggestion of your own to the topic.

30 January 2018 | Bolzano, Italy


Museum of Archaeology, Bolzano

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

Since his accidental discovery in 1991, newspapers and journals have carried reports about him, the Italian-Austrian border has been re-surveyed to determine his ownership, scientists continue to investigate him, and a Museum of Archaeology has been established to house him.

We missed our connecting train so were late arriving at Bolzano in Northern Italy. Dropping our bags at the hotel, we hurried through the city’s old and narrow streets, reaching the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology just in time for the day’s final admissions to see Ötzi the ice-mummy.Bolzano, Italy


A German couple hiking in the Ötztal Alps of Austria and Italy found Ötzi. At first they thought they’d stumbled across the corpse of a mountaineer, but very quickly it was realised Ötzi was over 5000 years old. He had become visible because the glacier in which he’d mummified had melted.

Northern Italian Alps

Three floors of the museum display exhibits relevant to Ötzi. They include a lifelike wax figure made from the detailed measurements of Ötzi’s skeleton, particularly his skull. It’s a visual contrast with his dark, somewhat twisted mummy which you can view through a small square square window like one in  a prisoner’s door. Ötzi lies on a slab in his cool cell that’s kept at a constant temperature.

Scientists have investigated very many aspects of Ötzi. Head injuries and an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder raised questions about his cause of death. Had he been in a fight? Had he bled to death from the arrow wound. Had he fallen into a stream (no glacier there in those days) and hit his head after being wounded by the arrow? You can see a reconstructed and lifelike Ötzi for yourself and read about the research and findings here

Beautiful Bolzano at the foot of the Dolomites in the South Tyrol has a treasure that’s fascination continues for visitors and researchers alike.

Alps, Bolzano Alps, Bolzano
  1. Thanks for the interesting post…makes you realise that the climate there must have been warmer than now only 5000 years ago! There are many similar cases of human remains and belongings being found in presently glaciated areas that were obviously warmer in the past roughly every 1000 years over the last 5000 in Canada, Norway, Europe, etc. Proof that things were warmer in those periods, long before we had cars!

    Otzi is certainly on our list of people to look up when next in Europe!

    1. Great contribution to the climate change debate, Alastair! http://www.stargazersbb.co.nz

  2. We did a side trip to Bolzano especially to see Otzi last year Diana. We were so glad we did- it was fasciniting! Love that area of Italy too…

    1. Yes, Marjory, http://www.marjorygardner.com a beautiful part of the world.

  3. A fascinating post, Diana. You know my love for Bolzano and all that Northern Italian area, but I have never even heard about Otzi, until now. Great writing.

    1. Now you have the perfect excuse to return, Corinne!

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