Asteroid may have killed Iceman

June 5, 2008 at 10:35 PM

BERGAMO, Italy, June 5 (UPI) -- A British scientist said a prehistoric mummy known as the Iceman may have been killed by an asteroid.

Mark Hempsell, a space technology professor at Bristol University, said writings on an Assyrian tablet discovered in northern Iraq in the 19th century provide evidence of an asteroid landing in Austria around 3000 B.C., the Italian news service ANSA reported Wednesday.

"Given the geographical vicinity and the period of history, it seems feasible that the asteroid's landing on Earth and the Iceman's death could be connected," Hempsell said at a conference in Italy.

He said the asteroid landing could also explain a second theory, that the Iceman may have been a ritual sacrifice to appease the forces who sent the asteroid.

The Iceman, also known as Oetzi, was found in a glacier in the Oetz mountain valley, ANSA said.

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