Suit over 'Iceman' may be settled

Aug. 26, 2008 at 11:42 PM
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BOLZANO, Italy, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The litigation over the Iceman mummy, the Neolithic wanderer found frozen in the Italian Alps 15 years ago, may finally be settled.

A newspaper in northern Italy, Dolomiten, reported Tuesday the provincial council in Bolzano is ready to settle by giving as much as 100,000 euros (almost $150,000) to Erika Simon, a German who discovered the Iceman with her husband, Helmut. Helmut Simon was killed in the mountains in an accident during the long legal battle.

The Iceman, preserved in a glacier high in the Alps, was one of the most stunning archaeological finds of the late 20th century. Scientists were able to examine his clothes and learn a lot about his diseases, including arthritis, and parasites, such as whipworm.

But the remains also have been the subject of endless legal battles. First, ownership was disputed by Italy and Austria with Italy winning, and then several people claimed to have spotted the remains before the Simons.

The Simons argued that Bolzano has gained millions of dollars in tourist business from the Iceman, now in a museum there, and he has brought in more from TV specials and books. The city resisted for years, offering only a token payment.

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