Skip to main content

Finding the Resting Place of Otzi the Iceman


Hike with Shawn Woods up and into the Italian Alps to rediscover the place where Otzi the Iceman was found. And say hello to some cows along the way!

Shawn Woods and his wife have traveled to Italy, specifically to Archeoparc,  an archaeological open-air museum in the Val Senales valley in northern Italy. They are taking the hike up into the Italian/Austrian Alps to view the location where the body of Otzi the Iceman was found.

Otzi’s body was discovered protruding from the ice in 1991. The find created a worldwide sensation, and opened previously locked doors in our archaeological understanding of early humans. It’s a 14-mile round trip hike, reaching an elevation of just over 10,500 feet.

It’s usually a seven to eight hour hike, but we’ve got it condensed to just a few minutes here.

Woods says that there are a number of people on the hike, but the first visitor they meet is a small, bell-wearing cow. He says that the valley is green and grassy and that there are a lot of grazing cattle in it. The valley rings with the sound of cowbells.

They also stop and enter the remnants of a small Mesolithic shelter. Otzi himself could have potentially slept in this shelter.

Woods also indicates that the valley trail is thought to have been a source for flint trading. He’s getting pretty high by now and the air is getting thin.

Finally at the top! They are at the location, which is a small area the shape of a bowl. This naturally protected area sheltered Otzi the Iceman’s body for all of those years. Woods indicates that the land is populated with plants and resources that Otzi likely used to make some of his gear.

It was a fairly easy hike, with a few rough spots, but Shawn’s pregnant wife did it and she hiked it like a pro. This was quite the adventure for Shawn Woods. After so many years of studying Otzi and reproducing several of his artifacts (such as his copper axe and flint dagger and dagger sheath) we’re happy that Shawn could make this trip.

And here’s a short video on how Shawn learned to correctly pronounce Otzi’s name:

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.


NEXT: Primitive Skills: Making an Ötzi the Iceman Flint Dagger

you might also like

Finding the Resting Place of Otzi the Iceman