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Week 6 Macionis Plummer Society, Social Groups and Social Organizations

Week 6 Macionis Plummer Society, Social Groups and Social Organizations

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‘I THOUGHT IT WAS A DOLL’S HEAD ,’ said Helmut Simon, a German tourist who, in 1991, made one of the scientific finds of the century. Simon was hiking across a huge glacier in south-west Austria near the Italian border when he stumbled upon a familiar shape protruding from the melting ice. He soon realised that it was not a doll but a human body: the so-called Iceman, who died some 5,000 years ago (before the construction of the Great Pyramids of Egypt), making him the oldest member of our species to be discovered essentially intact. Experts from around the world soon were buzzing with excitement.They estimate that, at the time of his death, the Iceman was about 30 years of age, five feet two inches tall and weighed about 110 pounds. Scientists speculate that he was a shepherd, tending his flock high in the Alps in early autumn, when he was overtaken by a cold storm that forced him to take refuge in a narrow ridge in the mountain.Tired from his ordeal, he lay down and fell asleep, and, as the temperature continued to drop, he froze to death. Deep snows and a wall of ice soon entombed his body in a massive glacier. There, at a flesh-preserving temperature of –6°C he remained for 53 centuries. Only an unusual melt of the glacier – and the luck of a sharp-eyed hiker – led to the Iceman’s discovery. Examining the Iceman’s garments, scientists were astonished at how advanced this ‘cave man’s’ society was. The Iceman’s hair was neatly trimmed, and his body displayed numerous tattoos that probably symbolised his standing in his home community. He wore a skilfully stitched leather coat over which a woven grass cape provided greater protection from the elements. His shoes, also made of leather, were stuffed with grass for comfort and warmth. He carried with him an axe, a wood-handled knife, and a bow that shot feathered arrows with flint points. A primitive backpack held additional tools and personal items, including natural medicines made from plants. Controversy has continued about the Iceman. Some have suggested he died from a ritual sacrifice; still others have offered the view that he was ‘cursed’. Most recently in 2007, scientists working on his body found there were signs that an arrow had torn an artery beneath his collarbone! Modern science continues to debate this remarkable find ( Guardian ,August 2007). See: Konrad Spindler The Man in The Ice (2001) and Brenda Fowler’s Iceman (2002). There is no such thing as society. Margaret Thatcher (Left) Iceman known as Otzi, is shown in this picture from 25 September 2000. Otzi was defrosted to allow scientists to take samples which they hope will allow them to learn more about the man who roamed the Alps 5,300 years ago.The Iceman was found sticking out of a glacier by two climbers nine years earlier in Otztaker Alps on the Austro-Italian border. He had been freeze- dried 10,000 feet (3,000) meters above see level.
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