sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Copper Age

In 1991, hikers found an intact mummified man embedded in ice in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria. Subsequent exhaustive analysis showed that he died 5,300 years before. Between then and now a number of interesting facts emerged as a result of that research, which some may find -- fascinating. One of those is that he has living relatives (LINK) who were found based on genetic testing. 

The man, who researchers called Ötzi, was about 45 years old when he was murdered. Because of his general health and diet when he died, the doctors who analyzed his body believed that he had about five years more to live before he would have succumbed to a heart attack. 

The ice man was likely on a raid with others when things went wrong. An arrowhead was embedded deeply in his shoulder and researchers found blood on his back and side that didn't belong to him, leading to the possibility that he was helping a wounded friend. We also know that he was climbing when he met his fate.
The Iceman's final meals have served up a feast of information to scholars. His stomach contained 30 different types of pollen. Analysis of that pollen shows that Ötzi died in spring or early summer, and it has even enabled researchers to trace his movements through different mountain elevations just before he died. His partially digested last meal suggests he ate two hours before his grisly end. It included grains and meat from an ibex, a species of nimble-footed wild goat.
His end came when somebody stove in a portion of his skull. Then he was embedded in ice for 5,300 years until global warming brought him back.

Violence does solve problems. Some Alpine villagers made sure that at least this raider didn't return. And now to my point. A near cult concept that developed among some utopian socialist academics holds that in the past, mankind lived in a state of peace and innocence and we all got along. The modern age brought along a change in man - and transformed us from the peaceful agrarians that we were into the carnivorous savages that we have become. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is no indication that humans have become more warlike. Quite to the contrary, most people in the world live in an environment that is far more peaceful than our distant ancestors lived in.  And because we're all here, all of our ancestors were successful enough to reproduce. Which means that our ancestors were successfully violent. All it takes is a crisis brought about by lack of food, water or necessities and people revert to who and what made them successful -- effective violence. Abjuring violence only insures that you stand a far greater chance of dying before your time - then and now. End of Sermonette.

10 comments:

  1. I have often though about the mystery of Otiz and how he came to his demise. As for the Utopian Socialist, I do not believe that has ever been a generation that did not have a war or fought off invaders since Adam and Eve. Humans are a violent bunch of animals, full of envy, jealousy, greed and the need to have what others have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The people at National Geographic have reported what the scientists have found and they have it down to where it's apparent that he and friends were raiding villages in the alpine valley and met with an effective defense (which is why he had a flint arrowhead embedded in him). It's an interesting read.

      Delete
  2. Died at 45. An old age at that time, I should think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, 45 was old - a full life. His teeth were rotting out, he had all sorts of arthritis and was still climbing up and down the alps, raiding villages.

      Delete
    2. Only way he had to make a living.

      Delete
    3. I think that he did it because he enjoyed it. We know from chemicals in his system that he worked at smelting copper and at other endeavors.

      Delete
    4. Yeats called it a "Lonely impulse of delight." I've heard others describe it the same way. Fighting for the love of the winner-take-all stakes involved would seem to have infected our ancestors too.

      Delete
  3. And as shown in the photo below, some species are lucky to reproduce at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People find love in the strangest places.

      Delete
  4. Interesting stuff -- some anthropologists seem to think that there was a a period of several thousands of years without any war, between the last big glacial melt-off and the "8.2 kiloyear event"(?) Why? Because they haven't found any evidence of weapons... I'd say that was kind of flimsy, and what about "tool kits"?

    Long-winded way of saying I agree with you...

    ReplyDelete

It's virtual - it's a mirage - it's life