30th September 2008
by Kathryn Hadley
The legal battle over the payment of a finders’ fee to the couple who discovered the Stone Age hunter Oetzi was finally resolved yesterday, when Erika Simon was awarded 150,000 Euros (£119,770) by the provincial government of Bolzano in Northern Italy.
The dispute lasted 14 years following Erika and Helmut Simon’s initial decline of a payment of 10 million lire (£4,122), which fell short of the legal finders’ fee of 25% of the discovery’s value. Helmut Simon died in a hiking accident in 2004, but his widow will benefit from the reward, thirty times the sum originally offered as a reward in 1994.
The couple discovered the remains of the 5,300 year old ‘Iceman’ in 1991 with his clothing and weapons still intact. He was approximately 159cm tall and believed to be 46 years old. He was named Oetzi after the name of the border region between Italy and Austria where he was found.
It was originally believed that he died from cold and hunger in the mountains; however, further research has revealed that he may instead have been wounded following an ambush with a rival tribe.