Author Topic: Otzi knots?  (Read 6732 times)

Benboncan

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Otzi knots?
« on: October 03, 2012, 09:06:13 AM »
Otzi (The Ice Man) was found with tools and weapons including a two strand lime bark bowstring with a knot at one end. I have failed to find what knot it is, or any reference to the knots in his clothing and footwear. Has anyone read what knots were used?

Edit
I have found this since posting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-sided_overhand_bend
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 09:32:15 AM by Benboncan »

Wed

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 09:44:48 AM »
From the official website: http://www.iceman.it/en/node/280

Quote
On prehistoric bows the bowstring is usually attached to one end of the bow by means of a loop and bound at the other end. There is no sign, however, of a bowstring.

dfred

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 01:20:10 PM »
Edit
I have found this since posting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-sided_overhand_bend

The work cited on WP is an article in History and Science of Knots (1996) that contains a tantalizing page and a half on Otzi's knots.  It was apparently based on already published photographs rather than direct examination.  Written only a few years after the discovery, there may have been additional publications since then.  The author, Gerre van der Kleij, thanks Charles Warner for the (probable) identifications of the knots and yarns in a footnote.  Warner was the author of several of the other articles in HSOK as well as the interesting A Fresh Approach to Knotting and Ropework (1992).

Here are the parts pertinent to your query:

Quote from: Gerre van der Kleij, "On Knots and Swamps", HSOK, 1996, pp. 34-35
[...]

As for his equipment, the find is absolutely without parallel.  Of interest for knotters is that this find shows how important was the role that knots played in the construction of every-day articles, thus giving a glimpse of all that is lost.  Among the knot-bearing articles found on or near the body, there were:  a sewn leather quiver containing fourteen arrow shafts, some of which had points and feathers attached; bundles of spare rope and yarn; bunches of spare arrowheads, kept together by a piece of string; a belt-purse; an axe-shaft with copper axe attached by leather thongs; a flint dagger with attached wooden handle; shoes with strings of leather and vegetable fibres; leather clothing, neatly sewn and coarsely repaired; a grass cloak; a bunch of tiny strings with a pendant/bead attached to it.  The material used for the ropes and strings was leather, sinew, grass and other vegetable fibres.

[...]  The many published pictures do show that there are plenty of knots present, and from them some information can be gleaned.  Among the yarns, three types could be identified:

1. right-hand (Z) laid single-ply yarn used for weaving;
2. two-ply left-hand (S) laid cord made from two right-hand (Z) laid yarns;
3. two-ly right-hand (Z) laid cord made from two left-hand (S) laid yarns.

Among the knots, the following knots could be identified with some probability:

1. Single Hitches as parts of lashings;
2. Overhand and Half Knots;
3. a Reef Knot;
4. an Overhand Bend (Ashley, #1410);
5. a Strap Knots (Ashley, #1491);
6. some more complex knots, probably involving Overhand Knots in combination;
7. several kinds of plaiting and weaving;
8. some sort of net knot.

[...]



« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 01:25:09 PM by dfred »

Benboncan

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 04:31:09 PM »
I thank both of you. The cord I referred to was found in the quiver and it was assumed that it might be a bowstring by the writer, it turns out that it was unsuitable for this purpose.

dfred

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 12:06:44 AM »
I thank both of you. The cord I referred to was found in the quiver and it was assumed that it might be a bowstring by the writer, it turns out that it was unsuitable for this purpose.

No problem.  Some further searching turned up an article in the November 2011 National Geographic that contains a number of photos including a few of the knotted items.  The article starts on page 120.

One of them shows a coiled/tangled length of rope which the caption suggests is "possibly his bowstring" -- very likely the subject of your query.  The end knot is visible and may in fact be the Overhand Bend (#1410) noted earlier.   Given the thickness of the material entering and exiting the knot, I'd say that seems quite likely.  If it is a single-strand terminal knot and I had to guess, I'd say it may be a right-handed (Z) Double Overhand/Blood Knot (#516).  However the orientation in the photo is not ideal for identification.  Given the (incredible) lack of deterioration I'm sure one could immediately identify the knot if examined in person -- or at least provided with a set of carefully made photographs intended for that purpose.

There is also a whole-page photo of the mesh-like/sandal portion of his shoe that really shows some of the fine ropework.  There appear to be some nice little tricks done with the plying to branch subsidiary cords from a main one.  If he made these himself, he was skilled indeed.  The knife sheath is also very clean in its design and has the look of something the maker had refined over many iterations.

If this issue of NG is not available at your local library, there are several copies currently listed at reasonable prices on eBay.   The photos are quite nice (it is NG after all) and don't appear to be duplicates of those available on the site Wed posted above.

SS369

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 02:02:44 AM »
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 02:03:47 AM by SS369 »

Sweeney

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 11:14:24 AM »
The museum in Bolzano  (just in Italy - it seems more like Austria where it once was) is well worth a visit as well where you can see Otzi's preserved remains and artefacts. My wife and I went there about 4 years ago when they also had a fascinating exhibition of Inca Quipus (knotted cords used for counting) and Inca mummies - gruesome but also beautiful in the way they venerated the dead.

Barry

struktor

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 06:26:20 PM »
Inca mummies - gruesome but also beautiful in the way they venerated the dead.
Barry

The mummy, called La Doncella or The Maiden, is that of a teenage girl who died more than
500 years ago in a ritual sacrifice in the Andes Mountains.
http://www.antalyatv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1343389770_10_13.jpg

A Peruvian Braid.

http://www.jeanleader.co.uk/othercrafts/peruvianbraid.html

The mummy of an ancient Inca girl sits literally frozen in sleep at a museum in Argentina.
Veritable horror!
http://www.antalyatv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1343389773_10_18.jpg


Sweeney

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 02:27:05 PM »
My mistake -  the mummies on display were pre Inca from a lost peoples called the Chachapoya ("Cloud People") who made the remains into small bundles and often painted a face on the outside.

Barry

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Otzi knots?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2012, 03:47:13 AM »
Edit
I have found this since posting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-sided_overhand_bend

Egadz!  I have tried to improve that entry since you found
it, though not in any regard to prehistoric knotting.
(Who's going through Wikipedia and dinging so many
knotting entries?  --a rockclimber gung-ho to show his
expertise, I fear; and the lack thereof is what comes off.)

--dl*
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