Beyond Ice Sculptures – Discoveries in Ice

While the ice sculptures of today are carefully constructed works of art, finely crafted by man, the ice holds many other mysteries throughout our world’s history. Discoveries in ice may hold the key to man’s early origins, with fossils and other remains frozen in time – creating the planet’s very first naturally made ice carvings that have lain dormant for centuries. Some of the most fascinating and famous discoveries in ice can be found in locations all across the world. These discoveries include the following:

Mount Llullaillaco – Argentina

On the summit of Mount Llullaillaco in the northern part of Argentina, an archaeological crew on an excavation discovered the frozen body of an Incan girl who had been buried 500 years ago. This real life human ice sculpture was found deep in a six foot pit, and was pulled from its resting place by archaeologist Johan Reinhard, with the help of a team member. The crew went on to find another two ice mummies, bringing the total to an incredible three mummies all under the age of 15 years.

Johan Reinhard with an Inca sacrifice he discovered in 1999.     Johan's team excavating artifacts on Mount Ampato. Photo: Johan Reinhard

Los Angeles – United States

In 2006, researchers discovered 16 fossil deposits, buried under an ancient parking lot area near the La Brea Tar Pits in the rather unlikely location of Los Angeles. These Ice Age fossils, frozen in time for centuries, included a mammoth skeleton, plus parts of an American lion, sabre-toothed cats, horses and various other animals – making it one of the biggest findings of its kind. The project was named Project 23, after the number of bags used to collect the fossils found at this site.

Smilodon skull   Scientist Shelley M. Cox stands alongside the lower jawbone section of the mammoth skeleton, part of a haul of fossils found in central Los Angeles Read more:

Bolzano – Italy

A German tourist stumbled on the incredible find of an ice mummy in the Alpine region of Bolzano in the 1990’s, which was determined to be 5000 years old. Erika Simon was visiting the Italian Alpine province of Bolzano in 1991 with her late husband Helmut when they happened to come across the corpse in a state of frozen preservation after spending five thousand years in ice. The ice mummy (which was named Oetzi) is said to be the world’s oldest ice mummy, and was found with clothes and weapons that offered insight into how people lived in the Late Neolithic age. Sadly, a legal battle over the reward for the German tourist’s find developed – finally resulting in the province paying her €175,000 for discovering one of the most remarkable natural ice sculptures of the century.

Otzi was found by two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, on September 19, 1991   Otzi the Iceman (also spelled Oetzi and known also as Frozen Fritz)


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