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As soon as Oeggl recognized it under his microscope lens, he not only knew which side of the mountain the Iceman had been on shortly before his death, but also the season in which he died.The hop hornbeam tree blooms between March and June, and because the sperm inside the pollen grain, which normally decays after a short exposure to air or water, was still intact, Oeggl believed it had to have been absorbed relatively soon after its release from the tree.In order to get bread to rise when yeast is added, the wheat grains must contain a high level of gluten, which lends the dough a durable elasticity and therefore holds the pockets of air.Einkorn has low levels of gluten, so the bread made with it was probably hard, somewhat like a cracker, and rather tough on the teeth.The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology is located in the historical center of the city of Bolzano/Bozen in South Tyrol.In its 1,200 square meters of exhibition rooms, it documents on three floors the chalcolithic mummy "Tyrolean Iceman" (nicknamed "Ötzi") and the artifacts found with him.The sample also contained many different varieties of pollen, whose strange and beautiful forms Oeggl saw under the electron microscope.
Instead of filling the chest cavity with their billowy white form, the lungs looked like wisps of clouds.
But at the top of the colon, Zur Nedden made out a slight bulge, which the radiologist suspected was a clump of half-processed food.
The progress of the food indicated that the Iceman had last eaten about eight hours before he died, possibly of hypothermia, on the Hauslabjoch pass, which cuts over the main Alpine ridge dividing Austria from Italy at 10,500 feet above sea level.
But the pollen provided a snapshot of the environment the Iceman was exposed to in the hours before his death.
The majority of the pollen came from the hop hornbeam tree, which grows in a warm environment.
Not everything passing through the Iceman's gut had been swallowed intentionally, or was even desirable. Many people alive today who do not live in areas with flush toilets also carry the worm, which can cause unpleasant symptoms like stomach ache and diarrhea, or even lead to malnutrition.