5000 years ago a 45 year old man was killed. An arrow had penetrated his body and punched through an artery. There were signs of struggle; blood from four different individuals was found on his knife.
He was given the name Ötzi as he was found in the Ötzalps in the borderarea between the present Switzerland, Austria and Italy, where he had been partially frozen in the ice 3200 meters above sea level.
Twenty years ago, when he was found, Ötzi was in such good condition that initially it was thought that it was the body of a recently dissapeared mountaineer.
Little by little the researchers realised how interesting the find was. The body of Ötzi, his stomach content, tatoos, clothes, tools and weapons are a source for information about the copper-stoneage, a time in history that had very limited information available.
A healthy mouth. But very worn.
Ötzi had a gap between his teeth. There were no cavities, but the teeth were very worn by rock particles from the stone grinded flour, which was used to bake bread. Ötzi had probably used them to chew tendons and leather to soften it.
But Ötzis teeth revealed more than that. His tooth enamel contained the element strontium and that revealed where he lived. Comparative soil sampling identified Eisackdalen or Pustertal, two places located near the site.
Stone particles in our bread is no longer a problem. But there are other threats to the teeth. Poor dietary habits, smoking, poor oral hygiene, too few or no visits to the dentist and hygienist, all undermines oral health.
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Source: Levande Historia nr 5/2011, sid. 46 – 51.Leave a reply →