The last meal of Ötzi the Iceman, the Copper-Age mummy discovered frozen in Alpine ice along the Austrian-Italian border in 1991, was a dry-cured meat similar to speck, prosciutto, or bacon, according to Gizmodo and The Local.
Ötzi, who was probably around 45 years old when he was murdered in 3300 BCE, is housed at the European Academy of Bolzano’s EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman. Researchers have thawed his body and have been studying his stomach contents for insights into his life. The latest research from Albert Zink, who heads up the Institute for Mummies, shows that his stomach contained the remains of raw, dry-cured goat meat. The nanostructure of the meat fibers showed that the goat was not cooked or grilled at all.
“It seems probable that his last meal was very fatty, dried meat—perhaps a type of Stone Age speck or bacon,” Zink told The Local. He was pretty likely to have had a stomachache, too, since previous research findings showed that his stomach contained a bacteria that can result in ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining in modern-day humans.
And like modern-day hikers carrying beef jerky, Ötzi probably brought his snack from elsewhere, since he wasn’t carrying a hunting bow (though he did have a quiver) that would have allowed him to take down animals for a fresh dinner.
Now we know: The allure of dry-cured meats is timeless. If you’re interested in delving into the Iceman further, EURAC has a high-definition collection of photos of his entire body (including his tattoos) at IcemanPhotoscan.eu.