Einkorn Wheat Bread: Ötzi the Iceman’s Last Meal

Ötzi the Iceman is Europe’s oldest mummy, dating back to 3,300 B.C.  Ötzi managed to eat a meal of meat, an herb, and bread made from einkorn wheat sometime shortly before his deatha.   The samples that were pulled showed einkorn wheat finely ground, that would have come from einkorn grain ground down to flour and baked into bread.

Ötzi the Iceman in clothing representative of his time

Ötzi the Iceman's Diet Included Einkorn Bread

The story of Ötzi is a topic of interest to me because it is an additional finding to validate that einkorn wheat was a primary grain eaten by most people thousands of years ago.  Nutritional Facts & Health Benefits explains how the wheat we eat today is so different from einkorn wheat.

The remainder of this post is unrelated to einkorn but I’ve included more details about Ötzi below since some of you may find them to be of interest.  I think his story is fascinating!

More than likely, Ötzi was from a community that grew einkorn.  Based on his tools and clothing, it appears he was a hunter or was a wealthy man or ruler who got too far from his home town and was chased down by an enemy.

Whatever the story, he is real proof that einkorn wheat was a staple grain of his time.

Ötzi the Iceman’s Tools

Ötzi's Tinder Fungus Tool for Fire Starting

Ötzi's Tinder Fungus Tool for Fire Starting

Knife found by Ötzi's body

Knife found by Ötzi's body

The Copper Ax Head found on Ötzi

The Copper Ax Head found with Ötzi

Ötzi's Flint Knife Sharpening Tool

Ötzi's Flint Knife Sharpening Tool

All of Ötzi’s tools demonstrate that he was very capable of maintaining life away from home for long periods of time.  Interesting that he had the tinder fungus tool to use for starting fires and an ax head made of copper. I can’t imagine everyone had one of those. Maybe he was wealthy and had unusual access to fine materials.

Where did Ötzi live?b

Ötzi likely lived south of the main Alpine ridge. This is indicated by pollen, teeth and wood analyses as well as his flints, which came from the Lake Garda region, and his axe, whose shape is known from the Remedello culture on the Po plain. Ötzi could have been a member of the Tamins-Carasso-Isera 5 Alpine cultural group, which settled in the Vinschgau Valley. If only Öti had also taken along a piece of stoneware or ceramic with him a clear regional classification would have been possible, as every cultural group had a unique way of shaping, decorating and firing clay.

Map to Ötzi's Location

Map to Ötzi's Location

The Death of Ötzi the Iceman

Using a multi-slice CT Scan, Swiss researchers revealed an arrowhead deep inside his left shoulder yet there were no remains of the arrow shaft.  Ötzi was apparently attacked by his enemy with a bow and arrow.  Maybe someone tried to remove the arrow, leaving the arrowhead lodged in Ötzi’s body.  The arrow must have damaged one of his arteries, causing him to bleed severely.  Fatally injured, his remains were frozen so that they were preserved for over 52 centuries until 1991 when he was found.

8 thoughts on “Einkorn Wheat Bread: Ötzi the Iceman’s Last Meal

  1. sam

    he could have gotten the arrow in his back from falling and his arrow in the kit behind him got shove into his shoulder

    Reply
  2. Lawrenz

    One of the most important finds about this Iceman was the fact he had Lymes disease thus subsequently heart disease/living on organic foods and active lifestyle in a pristine world…and most likely he was shot by his fellow hunters…mistakenly this accident stuff happens every hunting season since we came down out of the trees or spaceship etc see Dick Cheney hunting skills…

    Reply
    1. michele

      There’s no like button….lol…and I really liked this very possible perhaps even probable idea. If the arrow head was stuck in the back of his shoulder, one could certainly assume that he wasn’t alone and someone with him tried to pull it. He certainly seemed equipped for an expedition, which then was likely a hunt. We know hunting happened often in a group situation, ie a hunting party rather than a lone hunter because of the dangers involved and the difficulty in taking down their food….but the Dick Cheney comment….priceless!!!

      Reply
  3. Scarlett

    I agree that he probably wasn’t alone, and it is most likely his companion, or companions took valuables from his body before leaving him. Possibly a quiver, spear, and or other weaponry needed not only for hunting, but protection. What was actually found on him was rather mundane for a hunter out for game.

    Ditto on the Dick Cheney comment. I worked for a rancher that had his eye put out by such a klutz with a shotgun.

    Reply
  4. Patricia Clayton

    I just happened upon this while pursuing the thread about Otzi. I’m just so intrigued with this discovery, have been since I first heard about him being found in the Alps, maybe because my mother is from Northern Italy and (oddly enough) what he supposedly looked like resembles her family. Of course, that’s nuts, as a 5000 year old person’s features would long ago have been watered down through the generations, but nevertheless, it makes me feel connected to him. I enjoy the theory that he possibly fell on his own quiver and hence the arrow protruding into his back. Most interesting of all are the artifacts that he carried so many eons ago. Just fascinating.

    Reply
  5. Doris Russ

    More recent conclusions from the autopsy indicate he died from blunt force trauma, a heavy blow to the head, and not from the arrow wound in his shoulder. Documented on the National Geographic article about Oetzi.

    Reply

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