Excavations in the Ice
For the first time archaeologists were faced with the prospect of excavating a find on a glacier.
The first archaeological survey of the scene where the Iceman was discovered was carried out between October 3 and 5, 1991. Its aim was to document the exact position of the mummy and the rest of the finds in the form of a detailed contour plan. However, the onset of winter put an end to further archaeological investigations that year.
Between July 20 and August 25, 1992, a second archaeological survey was carried out by several institutes under the direction of the Ancient Monuments Office of the autonomous province of Bolzano.
Although long periods of fine weather in 1992 had melted much of the snow, large quantities of snow in the crevices between the blocks of stone had to be melted using steam jets and hot-air blowers.
Numerous small finds came to light in the sediment covering the gully floor: further pieces of the Iceman’s kit including leather and hide remnants, grasses, string, pieces of skin, muscle fibres, hair and a fingernail. The section of the broken longbow still embedded in the ice was also recovered.
The Iceman’s bearskin cap was found near the stone slab on which the Iceman had lain.
In the course of the two surveys the entire gully in which the find was discovered was exhaustively examined.