1. The Issue
The focus of research in this case study deals with a very ancient subject: a dispute between Austria and Italy over rights to the body of a Neolithic trader found on their border. The discovery of the ancient body also gave us great insight to our past. My key areas of research will concentrate mainly on the aspects that prove this iceman to be a trader: What makes us believe he was a trader? What are the other theories that try to describe who this man was? And if he truly was an ancient trader, what insights can he reveal on ancient trading customs? I will also focus on the actual dispute between Italy and Austria on the significance of ownership of the iceman.
In September of 1991 two Austrian hikers in the Tyrolean Alps stumbled across an ancient secret frozen in time. They discovered the well-preserved body of an ancient man locked in ice for centuries. After careful investigation it was believed that this iceman, nicknamed Otzi for the area in which he was discovered, was actually following an ancient trade route when he died. Many clues pointed to the fact that Otzi was not from the area and must have traveled by foot to look for goods to possibly trade.
While archeologists and historians were excited with the find of the iceman, Italians and Austrians both laid claim to Otzi's ancient remains that resulted in a six-year dispute. The discovery of the iceman has shed light on ancient trade and customs, the trade routes within the area between Austria and Italy and what goods traders came for. If the iceman came for trade, what could he have been looking for? And also, where could he have come from? What types of trade were significant in his time?
There have been many theories attempting to explain who the Iceman really was. Of the more convincing theories is that of being a trader or merchant. The Alps were a busy barter area during prehistoric times. The Romans built roads in the area of the Alps and it was said that the Romans usually built roads along ancient prehistoric trails. There have been a number of archeological findings along the Alps all due to the high traffic of the area during this time. The four major reasons for transit were: hunting, mining, high-altitude grazing and trade. Today the trails are still used by sheep herders.
If the Iceman really was in the area for trading goods, what kind of goods could he have been looking for? In what we know as the Italian Alps today goods such as hides,furs,honey and amber were found. In the section of what we know as the Austrian Alps raw materials such as salt, gold, and iron were found. If the Iceman was just in transit in the Alps on his way south he may have been looking for flint, jade, shells or copper. Materials of which some tools he was carrying were made of.
Due to the intense cold all the objects the iceman had on him were also well preserved. He had numerous interesting objects including an ax, blade, flint knife, marble bead and a small leather pouch with herbs.
Clothing of the Iceman:
The clothing that was found on the Iceman is the first time Neolithic clothing has been found so well preserved. A description of his clothing can give us an idea of how people dressed and the methods and textiles they used to create such clothing.
The clothing of the Iceman consisted of a cap, his upper garment, a pair of leggings, a loincloth, a pair of shoes and a cloak. The cap was made from individually cut pieces of fur sewn together. Attached to the cap were two leather straps probably used as a chin strap.
The upper garment looks like a cloak or cape. The material is the hide of a deer that probably had fur on one side. It is also sewn together by various pieces and was worn with the fur on the inside. It probably came down to his knees and had no sleeves. It is suggested that he wore the hide side in warmer weather as the Eskimos do to this day, thus a prehistoric reversible coat!
The leggings found on the iceman were made of the same material of both the cap and cloak, fur and hide. It was also made of several separate pieces of fur sewn together. It was like a long stocking without the foot section. In fact it covered the thigh as well as the calf and was worn loose to allow for movement. He was not wearing pants, instead he had two separate leggings.
Since he wore no pants, he had a loincloth to protect his genital area. The loincloth is not made of fur as the other garments yet made solely of leather. It consisted of a front flap that went down to his knees. Its shape looked like a scarf tied to his waist.
The shoes were also made of leather strapped together with leather straps. The leather was made of cowhide. For warmth the shoes had no fur, instead they were stuffed with grass inside.
Over his fur garments the Iceman was found wearing a coat made of grass. The coat went down to his knees and was tied around his neck.
Of the largest items found on the Iceman was the bow-stave. The bow-stave was not yet completed thus he was probably working on it while traveling. The wood was made of yew (all prehistoric bows were made of this wood). It would have made a great weapon.
He was also found with an ax as shown in the image to the right. The handle was made of yew while the blade was made of secondary copper.
The Iceman also had a prehistoric backpack used to carry loads. It was made of two short boards of larch and a hazel rod. It was shaped like a U. It was tied in the back with string probably made of grass.
Of the more interesting finds was his beltpouch. The actual belt pouch is made of leather and inside were five objects: three flint implements, a bone awl and a piece of tinder. The flint was probably used to cut grass, as a tool to drill holes and carving. The bone awl was probably used to punch holes in leather or fur and perhaps even as a tattooing needle. The iceman was found with many tattoos on his body. The birch was probably used for its tar, which was used as an adhesive.
The final objects found on the Iceman were two birch fungi. It is well known that birch fungus contains antibiotic substances, yet it can also produce hallucinations. Thus, he probably used it as a sort of medicine on his journey.
The final death of the Iceman was at first puzzling. Many believed he froze to death while trying to journey his way through the icy mountains or perhaps by a fall. Yet after careful investigation a team of scientists has determined that Otzi actually died from a wound from an arrow that ripped through his back. The mystery was solved July 2001 almost 10 years after his discovery.
3. Related Cases
4. Author and Date:
October 16, 2001
II. Legal Clusters
5. Discourse and Status:
Agreement and Complete
6. Forum and Scope:
Austria and Italy and Bilateral
7. Decision Breadth:
Two: Italy and Austria
8. Legal Standing:
In legal terms, this case would
most probably fall under the UNESCO Convention on the
Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of
Ownership of Cultural Property. Under this convention works of art, antiques and
archeological objects are protected internationally. The intention of the
convention is to stop theft, and to regulate the export and import of cultural
objects so that countries are not deprived of artifacts fundamentally
significant for their national heritage.
Article 1 of the convention defines 'cultural property'. In the case of the Iceman, the definition would fall under many categories. The first of which under rare specimens of flora and fauna, the Iceman was preserved along with a bag of prehistoric herbs. He would also fall under products of archeological excavations. Yet considering the age of the iceman, many can argue that his discovery could fit under many definitions of 'cultural property'.
The Iceman was found by Austrians and was originally maintained by Austrian scientists and archeologists. Yet it was later discovered that the Iceman was actually Italian, thus the Italians demand the return of their 'cultural property'. Under Article 4 section B of the Convention, property that makes part of a State's cultural heritage is defined as cultural property found within the national territory. Yet, under the same Article 4 section C, cultural property could also belong to a state if acquired by archeological missions yet with the consent of the competent authorities of the country of origin of the property. Thus, the Austrians could have kept the Iceman on their soil if the Italian government allowed them the right. Unfortunately for the Austrians the Italians decided to keep him and had the legal right to demand his return.
Other useful legal information could be found under UNESCO's Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archeological Excavations and the UNIDROIT convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. At present there are over 90 members of UNESCO's International Convention that have ratified. These measures are very effective if more members sign on and ratify. Italy has been a member since 1978 and with its many looting problems of art and antiquities it has looked upon UNESCO's convention as rule. Austria still has not joined the Convention.
III. Geographic Clusters
9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain: Europe
b. Geographic Site: Western Europe
c. Geographic Impact: Austria, Italy
10. Sub-National Factors: No
11. Type of Habitat: Cool
IV. Trade Clusters
12. Type of Measure: Not Applicable
The decision was based on national rights to cultural property found on national territory.
13. Direct v. Indirect Impacts:
14. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental Impact
a. Directly Related to Product: No
b. Indirectly Related to Product: Yes, Market Access.
c. Not Related to Product: No
d. Related to Process: No
15. Trade Product Identification:
The trade product from my case
could be categorized by many titles. My case of the Iceman involves the remains
of ancient man, considered to be of great cultural importance considering that
it was one of the oldest and best-preserved remains ever found in the world. The
case of the Iceman has benefited many, from those who study ancient textiles to
those interested in the ancient spice-herb trade to scientists interested in its
physiological aspects. I would therefore classify it under the title of Cultural
Property and/or artifact.
Thus if we consider it to be an ancient artifact or cultural property, then those key countries that export such items would be those with a history of ancient civilizations and an abundance of relics. Although in the case of the iceman there was no illicit trafficking involved, illicit trafficking of cultural property is a worldwide problem. Of those countries leading the way to illegal export of cultural property are: Italy, Turkey, and Greece: all of which are countries abundant in ancient artifacts.
So where do these relics end up? Fortunately the remains of the Iceman were found and given to the proper authorities. It is much different when the relic is something other than a 5,000-year-old body. Most ancient artifacts, if found, can end up anywhere: from museums to someone's home. Also, when artifacts from a home country turn up in foreign countries, most of the time the home country demands the return of the artifact on the grounds that it is part of their heritage and is considered cultural property.
Measures have been taken to prevent further thefts and misunderstandings. In Italy, where the Iceman was found, rules have been established regarding the circulation of cultural goods outside of Italy. In the case of Italy, as long as it is a member of the EU, it is allowed to hold the object for three years. For any other country that wishes to attain a cultural good they must get a license appropriate to the institution requesting the good.
In the case of the illicit importing of cultural goods, UNESCO has played a key role in setting regulations; it has set up a convention protecting cultural property from theft and has helped in drafting proper legislation worldwide.
16. Economic Data
17. Impact of Trade Restriction: Low
18. Industry Sector: Craft
19. Exporters and Importers: Countries,museums
V. Environment Clusters
When Mr. And Mrs. Simon of Nuremberg, Germany came upon the remains of a human body in the Otzal Alps, between Italy and Austria, they simply thought it was an unfortunate hiker who had fallen victim to the mountain. They had no idea that by finding this body they had opened the door to an ancient world. Of course, immediately after the discovery of the body the proper scientists and authorities were called upon to examine it. The scientist who headed the examinations of the Iceman was Konrad Spindler. It was Spindler and his team from the University of Innsbruck in Austria that discovered that the remains where actually of a 5,000 year old man. Although exciting for most scientists worldwide, the theories brought out by Spindler and his team also became widely criticized and challenged. While Spindler tried to prove his findings others also tried to discredit him.
The major source of criticism came from a book written by a Munich television journalist Rohwolt Verlag, titled: The Otzal Fraud: Anatomy of an Archeological Grotesque. The author first claims that the scientists involved are all incompetent in prehistory, thus unable to judge whether the Iceman really is as old as stated. He then goes on to state that the glacier where the Iceman was said to be found really does not exist, claiming that decades ago the ice retreated from the site. Both assumptions proved false.
The next assertion is that the Iceman did not meet his death on the site of discovery; rather mummy smugglers from the past deposited him there. He points to the centuries old trade in Egyptian mummies which where pounded into miracle drugs in European pharmacies. Yet Spindler argued that if this were true why was the body positioned as it was? Egyptian and Asian mummies normally rested extended on their backs, the Iceman had his arms pointed to the right and was not in burial posture.
All in all, this author with many others tried to prove that the Iceman was actually a fraud. Yet, the scientists involved in the discovery and many other scientists worldwide have scientific proof that the Iceman is truly a prehistoric gem. Soon after publication of The Otzal Fraud, the authors agreed to take part in an Austrian discussion show. The authors had to stand up to questioning by two Innsbruck scientists and where said to have looked like fools. Since then no one else has tried to claim that the Iceman is a fraud.
20. Environmental Problem Type:
Cultural and/or Societal
21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
22. Resource Impact and Effect: Low and Scale
23. Urgency and Lifetime: Low, 5-10 years
VI. Other Factors
25. Culture: Yes
The discovery of the Iceman was
truly a great moment for science. Yet, when it was found the rights to its
ownership became the main focus point of attention rather than its scientific
and historic significance. The Iceman was found so close to the Italian-
Austrian border that an official survey of the border was set, just two weeks
after the discovery. The site resulted to lay in Italy, just 101 yards from the
border. The Austrian politicians and local officials who were ready and waiting
for the welcome of their prehistoric body were sadly disappointed. In Innsbruck
the scientists were disappointed but pointed out that science should never bow
to the concerns of a nation and that "science is international".
It was of great luck though that the corpse was found in the autonomous province of South Tyrol. South Tyrol, once part of Austria, was seen as a better choice than Rome. Ultimately South Tyrol did win the rights to the body and artifacts and since South Tyrol did not have a university or archeologist ready to take on such a find, an agreement was made that the University of Innsbruck would carry on with the research. This idea was widely acceptable by both sides, the mummy will remain on Italian soil yet be maintained by the Austrian scientists who originally discovered his ancient roots.
Yet this may not be the end in the battle over the Iceman. Many extreme Austrian nationalist groups still claim the body as theirs and have threatened bomb attacks in retaliation. The cost of the transfer, which involved police from both countries and a helicopter, was close to one million dollars. For those who wish to see him today he is frozen in time in the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology.
26. Trans-Boundary Issues: Yes
27. Rights: Yes
28. Relevant Literature
Spindler, Konrad: The man in the ice: the preserved body of a Neolithic man reveals the secrets of the Stone Age
Spindler, Konrad: The Man in the Ice: The True Story of the 5000-Year-Old Man Found in an Alpine Glacier.
Roberts, David (1993) The Iceman: Lone Voyager from the Copper Age. National Geographic
Fowler, Brenda: ICEMAN: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric man found in an Alpine Glacier
The Iceman: http://info.uibk.ac.at/c/c5/c552/Forschung/Iceman/iceman-en.html
Italy's iceman comes home: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_48000/48074.stm
The man in the ice http://www.cruithni.org.uk/feature/iceman.html
BBC-Italy's Iceman out of the freezer: http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/world/europe/newsid_940000/940751.stm
BBC-Italy's Iceman comes home: http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_48000/48074.stm
Discovery of the Iceman: http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/iceman.html
The findings of Otzi, the Iceman: http://www.st-agnes.org/~dcrank/student/oahn/Geo.htm
Iceman moves into new home- DISCOVERY: http://exn.ca/Stories/1998/01/19/05.asp
The Iceman: The Man from Hauslabjoch: http://info.uibk.ac.at/c/c5/c552/Forschung/Iceman/iceman-en.html
Mosses and the Iceman: http://www.gla.ac.uk/ibls/DEEB/jd/iceman.htm
Otzi, The Iceman: A mystery solved: http://members.tripod.com/fmrez/id21.htm
Otzi, the Austrian Iceman: http://www.explorenorth.com/library/weekly/more/bl-iceman.htm
South Tyrol Museum: http://www.archaeologiemuseum.it/p2100_uk.html
The world when the Iceman froze: http://www.robotwisdom.com/science/iceman.html
*This website used
for educational purposes only*