Ötzi the Iceman carried a long list of equipment on his final day.
His equipment included:
- a longbow made of yew
- a chamois hide quiver
- fourteen arrows (only two finished)
- a copper ax
- a flint-bladed dagger with a woven sheath
- a tool for sharpening (retouching) flint
- a larch wood frame and cords of a backpack (pannier)
- ibex bones
- two birch-bark cylinders
- a calf leather belt pouch
- a tassel made with a white marble bead and twisted hide strips
- two pieces of birch fungus (each threaded with hide strips)
- other tools
Some of the items are particularly interesting to scientists and historians. These include:
1. The copper ax. Scientists were thrilled to find the ax, the only complete prehistoric ax ever discovered.
About two feet long, it was made from a portion of the trunk of a yew tree where a right-angled branch grew. The haft of the ax (i.e., the handle) came from the trunk; the shaft (the part onto which the copper blade was fitted) came from the branch--naturally joined. This allowed maximum durability. Most copper age axes are made from ash wood (Otzi's was the first one to be found made from yew). The copper blade was fitted into the shaft and wrapped with a leather binding; the binding was coated with birch tar (i.e., boiled sap from the birch tree). The shaft was forked at the end (about 3 inches long). The ax blade extended out of the leather binding about one inch.
The ax would be used quite differently from a modern one: three chops of the Iceman's ax would equal one swing from a modern one. Scientists even reconstructed his ax to make sure that it would work. It took 45 minutes, but a man was able to chop down a yew tree using the ax.
2. The dagger and sheath. The Iceman's knife was only 5 inches long. Its flint blade resembles an arrowhead; it was driven into the wooden handle. Since the handle split when the blade was attached, someone had tied the handle securely together with sinew (or animal tendon). The sheath was woven from lime bast (that is, cords made from the inner bark of a lime tree).