Otzi The Iceman Reveals Evidence Of Prehistoric Specialized Jobs

Filed under: Career Development,Careers, Education & Training,Features |

By ROBERT SCALLY— It was the dawn of work and jobs as we now know them. During Otzi the iceman’s time about 5,300 years ago, specialized jobs were beginning to emerge as civilization moved from nomadic hunting and gathering to living in settlements and farming.

Otzi, also known as the iceman, is the mummified body of man killed 5,300 years ago. Otzi was found in 1991 in the Italian Alps perfectly preserved in a frozen glacier.

Otzi lived during what is known as the Copper Age and there is plenty of archeological evidence of specialized metalworkers.

Scientific analysis has shown that Otazi was a shepherd herding goats, sheep and cows.

Otzi the iceman's shoes were crafted by a cobbler.

Otzi the iceman’s shoes were crafted by a cobbler.

The iceman’s possession of a finely crafted copper axe, his blackened lungs and traces of copper found in his hair hint he may have moonlighted in the copper business.

However, it was some of the other items found with Otzi that show his community had specialized workers.

Otzi ate unleavened bread prior to being killed, a 2009 CAT scan of his stomach and intestines revealed. The bread was made with highly processed einkorn wheat bran.

This suggests that someone other than Otzi the shepherd grew grain and milled it into flour for baking.

Otzi’s Shoes Show Cobbler Was An Early Specialized Job

But it is Otzi’s shoes reveal his community had someone akin to a cobbler.

A Czech academic, Petr Hlavacek, a footwear expert from Tomas Bata University in Zlin, reproduced the iceman’s shoes in 2005.

The reproductions turned out to be excellent footwear.

Hlavacek said that the iceman’s boots were “like going barefoot, only better.”

“They are very comfortable and perfect protection against hard terrain, hot temperatures and the cold,” he told The London Daily Telegraph.

“They may not look very attractive but from a technical point of view they are very strong,” he said. “They have a very good grip and withstand shock well.”

“Because the shoes are actually quite complex I’m convinced that even 5,300 years ago people had the equivalent of a cobbler who made shoes for other people,” he said.

See also:

Workplace Violence: Was Otzi The Iceman Iced On The Job?

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