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Origin and Migration of the Alpine Iceman

Science  31 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5646, pp. 862-866
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089837

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Abstract

The Alpine Iceman provides a unique window into the Neolithic-Copper Age of Europe. We compared the radiogenic (strontium and lead) and stable (oxygen and carbon) isotope composition of the Iceman's teeth and bones, as well as 40Ar/39Ar mica ages from his intestine, to local geology and hydrology, and we inferred his habitat and range from childhood to adult life. The Iceman's origin can be restricted to a few valleys within ∼60 kilometers south(east) of the discovery site. His migration during adulthood is indicated by contrasting isotopic compositions of enamel, bones, and intestinal content. This demonstrates that the Alpine valleys of central Europe were permanently inhabited during the terminal Neolithic.

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