7 Dec 2011
Remember Ötzi the Iceman? He was that mummified man found back in 1991, ice-encased in the Alps somewhere around the border of Austria and Italy, having died some 5300 years ago at the age of approximately 45. Above is a reconstruction of his face.
I didn't know this until now but it turns out that not only can scientists figure out what supper he ate last, but they can even be reasonably certain of his eye colour thanks to genome analysis! They were brown, by the way. DNA analysis also reveals he had Lyme disease, was at risk of atherosclerosis, and of Ibero-Sardinian descent. Very fascinating stuff!
Sadly, genetics won't tell us what language he spoke but we can make some educated guesses nonetheless. Given the region, he might have spoken some Celtic or Italic dialect. On the other hand, could he have spoken Paleo-Sardinian or some other non-Indo-European language instead? We can never be sure; that's a possible option too. In case anyone is wondering though, given the millennium he died in, one thing is sure: he didn't speak an Etrusco-Rhaetic language since that population hadn't yet settled in Italy.
More information is found in this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41782798/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/iceman-looks-tired-hes-years-old/