Otzi, a 5,300-year-old ice mummy, undergoes scientific evaluation.
Scientists studying Ötzi, a 5,300-year-old mummified man, found dry-cured goat bacon in his stomach. (Photo: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology/EURAC/Samadelli/Staschitz)

Scientists who are studying a 5,300-year-old mummified body identified dry cured goat meat in the man’s stomach.

Ötzi was discovered with his clothing and equipment in the Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley glacier in 1991. An analysis of his stomach contents in 2011 revealed he had eaten a meal of cooked grain and meat from an ibex, a species of wild goat. But further more-recent studies showed the goat meat to be goat “bacon,” or something similar to prosciutto.

An analysis by Albert Zink, Ph.D., head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, revealed the goat meat had been dry cured. Zink speculated that Ötzi ate cured meat while traveling through the Alps because the raw meat would have spoiled, and he wasn't carrying a bow and arrow to hunt. However, he was found with a copper ax.

Ötzi’s corpse has been investigated thoroughly following his accidental discovery by hikers in September 1991. Since then, scientists revealed that he was murdered (an arrowhead was found in his left shoulder in 2001); he was between 40 and 50 years old when he died; and the oldest known Helicobacter pylori bacterium, which have been linked to stomach ulcers and gastric cancer, were found in his stomach along with his meal of goat bacon and grains.