Category: Trentini

Guest Post by Allen Rizzi: Tirolean Names

Allen Rizzi
Author and Blogger

Today we have an interesting and informative guest article by author, songwriter, genealogist and fellow Trentini American, Allen E. Rizzi. We feature two of Allen’s books in our Family Bookstore (you’ll find links for all of his books at the end of this blog post).

I follow Allen’s eclectic blog and as soon as I read this post, I knew it would be perfect for the Genetti Family Genealogy Project.

If you enjoy Allen’s insightful article, read more of Mr. Rizzi’s plethora of commentary or subscribe to his blog at: https://rizziallen.wordpress.com/

Here is Allen’s August 30th post in its entirety.

Tirolean Names by Allen Rizzi

I have always loved names, especially Tirolean surnames. Surnames were invented after first names ceased to distinguish various people in small villages and towns. Prior to the year 800, people usually only had given names in the Tirol. Hence, you find Johannes fu (or von) Dominicus to simply describe the birth of Johannes, son of Dominicus. It was a simple naming convention and it worked… for awhile.

Surnames were then used to distinguish between the various people having the same given name in any particular population center. They were often fashioned after the patriarch’s given name. Of the various Johannes living in one spot, the surname was added; perhaps Dominici to distinguish a particular Johannes who was descended from Dominicus. Surnames were always descriptive and were intended to differentiate for reasons of census and taxation.

But as populations grew, there were too many people of the same given name and same surname in any one location. Confusion once again reigned. In my native village of Cloz for example, there were many people named Giovanni Rizzi at any one time. What to do? In the Tirol, sopranomi (nicknames) were introduced.

Sopranomi were first used to distinguish people with identical names living in one population center or town. If there were too many Johannes Dominicis in one area, the sopronome helped to discern which Johannes Dominici was being named in any instance.

Sopranomi vary widely in the Tirol. Some are taken from physical characteristic, others from one’s occupation and still others from the patriarch of the family. I was, for example, born Picolo Alessandro di Eugenio Valentino Von Rizzi Regin. The last of this huge moniker is my soprnome, Regin. It derives from the fact that a very distant ancestor once worked in the court of Maria Teresa of Austria (regin = queen in our dialect) as a secretary. My grandmother’s sopranome was Segala, indicating that one of her ancestors was known for being born in a rye field. Sopranomi were mandatory for many years as populations in the Tirol grew. Both governments and local residents had to know who exactly was being referred to. Today, they are of little real importance although most families still carry them with pride as a cherished piece of their heritage. In fact in some villages, people are still known only by their sopranome rather than their surname.

But let’s turn our attention to those wonderful Tirolean surnames. Many simply mean “sons of” such as Michelini, Bertagnolli, Martinelli, Giuliani (sons of Michael, Umberto, Martin and Julian). Of all Tirolean surnames, this type is the most common. Hundreds of examples can be found, many ending in “i.” Sometimes surnames of German origin have been Italianized such as Gebardi (sons of Gebhart, which in turn means hardy and brave). Other Germanic surnames have survived intact such as Larcher (living among the larch ((tamarack)) trees), Mayrhofer (from the region of Mayrhof in Austria.) and Kirschbaumer (cherry grower).

Still other surnames are descriptive of physical characteristics such as my own surname Rizzi, which simply means “curly haired.” In my native village of Cloz in the Val di Non, there are only a few surnames: Angeli (Angels), Franch (free of taxation), Gembrini (born in December), Flor (flower), Floretta (little flower), Zanoni (sons of John), Canestrini (little jars), Rauzi (root harvesters) and of course Rizzi.

Yet other surnames describe a trade or residence location. These are commonly found in both the Italian and German rooted languages. Some examples of trade referenced surnames include Zadra (weavers), Kofler (land surveyors), Geiser (goat herders), Sartori (tailors), Mitterer (carpenters), Preti (priests), and Zucali (pumpkin growers).

Examples of residence referenced surnames include Aufderklamm (living on the gorge), Plattner (living on level fields), Egger (living on the corner), DalRi (living near the river), DallaValle (living in the valley), Dalsass (living among the stones), Dalpiaz (living in the piazza), Clauser (from Cloz) and Ausserer (living outside the edge of town).

Sometimes, surnames are super obvious. I recently saw a funeral notice for a woman whose maiden name was Carotta (carrot) and whose married name was Stanchina (a little tired). I joked that she had passed away as a “carrot who was a little tired.” Actually, the woman lived to 103 years; not bad for a tired old vegetable!

In all cases Tirolean surnames actually mean something, even if it has been lost in ancient local dialect. That’s where genealogists like me come in. Many of us are able to trace the exact origin of surnames, even if those words or names no longer exist or have been drastically changed.

Tirolean names – They are interesting and most have a very long and traceable history. If you would like your Tirolean name researched, please get in touch with me. Genealogy is what I do. You may contact me here: http://www.allenrizzi.weebly.com

About Allen Rizzi: Writer with over 55 years professional experience including non-fiction, music, and corporate analytical writing. Author of eight books available through Amazon.com. Additional expertise as a photographer. Specialties: Historical non-fiction, fiction, nostalgia, public profiles, biographies, contracts, and documentary writing in English, Italian, and German. Recent articles have appeared in The Numismatist, NOS Magazine, and on the internet. Music composition and lyrics have been a specialty since 1974. Songwriting credits include over 150 songs (1974-present): Easy Listening, Country, Rock, and R&B. Currently completing a book in German and writing music and lyrics for recording artists in the United States and Europe. Cogito, ergo scribo….

For more info, please see Allen Rizzi’s LinkedIn account at:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/allen-rizzi-59ab5420/

Books by Allen Rizzi

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New Photo Gallery!

Vigilio and Maria Genetti

Vigilio and Maria Genetti of Illinois, 1886

It’s finally completed! Our new Photo Gallery is finished and online! You’ll find the direct link located in the Main Menu at the top of each page of our website, fourth link from the left under the title: Photo Gallery.

During the past year, I received many family photographs from different branches of the Genetti family. Since our old Photograph page had grown extremely large and cumbersome, the only possible solution for adding new images was to reorganize everything into manageable sections and republish as a separate gallery. After much thought, I came up with the solution to divide our photos into individual pages representing each state where our ancestors settled after arriving in the USA. We now have photo pages for: Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Illinois, Michigan, Washington and of course, our ancestral home of Castelfondo.

Many more names, dates and stories have been added to each page in the Photo Gallery. I hope with the addition of these details, I have created a descriptive account of family life, trials and tribulations encountered by our ancestors in their new country.

Our thanks to John Nimmo, great-grandson of Peter Menghini, who contributed many wonderful group photos to the Wyoming Genetti page.

Another thank you to Sharon Genetti Cain, great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti, for the exceptional collection of vintage images that now compose our Illinois Genetti page.

And finally, a big thank you to our friends and cousins in Italy who contributed several new photographs to our Castelfondo page as well as to other sections in our Photo Gallery. Mille grazie to Dino Marchetti, Giovanni Marchetti and Lidia Genetti.

Leone Genetti

Leone Genetti, Castelfondo, 1871

You might wonder why it has taken so long to see your photo memories appear on the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. Here is a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse at the process!

Upon receiving a new grouping of photographs, I first sort through the collection to determine if they are: 1. Genetti descendants and 2. they fit with the general theme of our website.

But before I can publish any new photo, there is much prep work involved. If possible, I prefer photographs to be sent via email as hi-res digital JPGs, along with names, dates, places, etc. This allows for the greatest working latitude with the images. Plus sending along photo details lays the groundwork for a story to go along with your family portraits.

However, this is not always the case and most photographs I receive require I great deal of attention before they are ready for our family website. Often the files arriving in my inbox are low-resolution, in need of restoration and have either no information or just a minimal title to identify them. And sometimes I receive packages by mail containing actual photos or newspaper clippings. In any case, every photo needs to be “prepped” and authenticated before it can be added to our gallery.

I begin by uploading (or in the case of hard copy photos – scanning) the images into Photoshop. I then try to increase clarity by using various filters and adjusting the tone of the photo. Next comes digitally repairing rips and tears, getting rid of dust spots and generally cleaning up the the image, restoring it to as close to original appearance as possible. After that, each photo must be resized to the correct resolution for online publishing. Now I’m ready for research!

If only basic information has been sent to me, I first locate the ancestor in my offline family tree (to date, I have collected information on over 1,700 family members beginning in the mid-1400’s up to present day living descendants). If I can’t find the ancestor on our tree or there just isn’t enough information in their file, I need to start researching using a variety of online resources such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and Find-A-Grave. After authenticating the people in the photo and finding enough information to compile a short story, I need to date the photograph. Sometimes I’m lucky and a date will be written on the photo or provided by the family, but usually this is not the case. Then I must put on my detective hat and estimate the year in which the photo was taken. I do this by using the following clues: determining the age of the subjects, the era of clothing style they are wearing, type of hairstyle they have, jewelry being worn and sometimes even identifying the background. All of these elements can offer clues to an approximate date.

After identifying the photo’s subjects, place and date, I am ready to publish your family memories to our website!

So take a stroll through the history of the Genetti family, see if you recognize any of your ancestors and enjoy browsing our new Photo Gallery.

Our many, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to our website! With your help, we have grown the Genetti Family Genealogy Project into an extensive resource, not only for our family, but also for the many Tyroleans who visit our website daily.

Grazie a tutti i nostri cugini di tutto il mondo (thank you to all of our cousins throughout the world)!

 

We welcome all contributions to the Genetti Family Photo Gallery. Please send me a direct message through our Contact page for directions on how to submit photographs.

 

 

Follow-up News on Documentary Film

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the documentary film: Trentini Americani – I just found out from the film maker that an interview with Bill Genetti will be included in the final cut of the project! Filmed in 2011, Bill was interviewed at his business in Hazleton, Pennsylvania along with footage of the city and other Tyroleans telling their story. I featured an edited YouTube clip of this interview on our blog back in May. Here’s the link if you would like to watch it again: Pennsylvania Trentini Americani.

Since our family will be represented in the documentary film, it’s even more reason to support this exceptional ancestral project! I can’t wait to watch the final film since Vincenzo also did interviews with descendants in Wyoming, Montana, California and Colorado – all places where the Genetti ancestors settled.

There are six levels of “Perks” being offered ranging from $11 to $2,916. (Note: five of the levels are under $95 – so I know you can find a level that fits within your budget.) If you value preserving our heritage and the memories of our first generation Trentini Americans, I know you will support this worthy project.

To learn more, go to: Trentini Americani: Recollections of a Journey

Trentini Americani: Recollections of a Journey

Hey family and friends, I just found out about a super-cool project called Trentini Americani: Recollections of a Journey, a documentary project. The film is being produced by Vincenzo Mancuso of Trento, Italy and is a crowd-funding project at Indiegogo. Here is the project’s overview:

“At the beginning of the 20th century 10,000 Trentini made their way to the United States. From 2009 until 2018 I traveled across the United States, meeting with families from New York to San Francisco and collecting over 160 interviews. The conclusion of this long oral history project is the production of a documentary that spans four generations and that tells the stories of the Trentini immigrants.”

The film will be produced in English with Italian subtitles, allowing for both Americans and our Italian cousins to enjoy personal interviews with descendants. Read more about this amazing project and view photos of our Tyrolean ancestors at the project’s home page: Click Here!

This is quite the labor of love and a magnificent way to preserve our ancestral heritage. If you agree, why not join me in supporting Vincenzo’s campaign with a donation. By donating at the $28 level, you will receive a high-definition download of the film upon its completion. I think that’s a real bargain for all the work that is going into this documentary. Of course, every little bit helps in bringing this project to fruition. FYI – the Indiegogo campaign runs until the end of August, so don’t procrastinate – help share our heritage with the world by supporting Vincenzo’s dream.

And here is the video clip that introduces the project on Indiegogo:

Trentini Americani – Recollections of a Journey from ITALOAMERICANI on Vimeo.

For more information:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trentini-americani-recollections-of-a-journey/x/1698596#/

Link Resource List

Our Links section has just been updated! For all you genealogy buffs, or those just fascinated with Tyrolean history and culture, you’ll find this list to be a valuable resource. To locate just scroll down any page on our website and you’ll see the “Links” list in the right hand column, right below “Archives”.

All links have been checked and updated, plus several informative websites added. Here are two that I know you’ll enjoy –

Val di Non to USA:
Discovering our ancestors who left Val di Non for a job or better life in America.
Researched and published by Elaine Erspamer Marchant, this website is truly a work of love! Elaine’s family is from Fondo (just down the road from Castelfondo) and she has made it a mission to categorize as many immigrants as possible who came from Val di Non. This is a fantastic resource for family surnames!

 

Trentino Family History Links:
Resources specific to Trentino Family History Research
According to genealogist Lynn Serafinn, “this is a new list of resource links specific to the province of Trento (aka Trentino)”. You might know Lynn from her popular column in Filo Magazine called Genealogy Corner. Living in England, Lynn specializes in genealogy research for Trentini descendants, with the majority of her clients being Americans. A frequent researcher at the archives located in the city of Trent, Lynn is certainly the person to hire if you want deep and thorough research into your Tyrolean family tree. In this new section just added to her extensive website, Lynn shares many research tools for Trentini ancestry. She also includes The Genetti Family Genealogy Project under the Family History Blog section of her list! Plus one more interesting point – Lynn has a Genetti ancestor from Castelfondo in her family tree! That’s right, Lynn is a distant cousin to our family! Our common ancestor predates baptismal records, but we believe our closest shared ancestor lived sometime around 1500. Thanks again Lynn for creating such a valuable resource and for including our family website! Make sure you check out the entire Trentino Genealogy website as it is filled with informative articles, personal stories and photographs.

Trento to Innsbruck via Bolzano

Today’s guest blog post comes from one of our readers, John Fellin. Since many of us make pilgrimages back to our ancestral roots in the Trentino-Alto Adige, John’s post will be of particular interest to our travelers. My husband and I often travel by train while visiting Northern Italy and I found this to be very helpful information. Mille grazie John!

 

John:

Below is a translation from the regional newspaper Il Dolomiti about a new train service uniting three great Tirolean cities. The service restores a previous service that was severed when Italy annexed the South Tirol. It means that if you’re visiting the Val di Non, you can take “al tram” (the light rail line) to Mezzacorona and transfer to this new service to go to Innsbruck. “ÖBB train” stands for the Austrian Federal Railways (German: Österreichische Bundesbahnen or ÖBB).

 

Il Dolomiti (English Translation):

For the first time a direct, round-trip train will be established between Trento/Trient, Bolzano/Bozen and Innsbruck. In addition to this there will also be an Italo return train from Bolzano/Bozen to Rome.

This is the news from December 9th that will come into force with the new timetables for trains and buses in Trentino – Alto Adige/SudTirol.

There will be an ÖBB train which will depart in the morning and in the evening, will connect Trento/Trient, Bolzano/Bozen and Innsbruck in both directions. In the morning it will start from Trento/Trient at 6:40 am and with intermediate stops in Mezzocorona/Kronmetz (6.52 hours), Egna/Neumarkt (7:05 am) and Ora/Auer (7:10 am), arriving in Bolzano/Bozen at 7:28 am, arriving in Innsbruck at 9:02 am. Departure in the evening from Innsbruck is at 9:00 pm, arrival in Trento/Trient at 11:59 pm.

There will be a new connection between Bolzano/Bozen and Trento/Trient, departing from Bolzano/Bozen on weekdays except Saturday at 20:06.

You can read Il Dolomiti at: https://www.ildolomiti.it/ 

 

About John Fellin:

John is a second generation, 100% Tyrolean American, with all of his grandparents hailing from the Val di Non. He speaks both Italian and Nones, and has remained in-touch with his Trentini cousins. His father’s family is from Revo and his mother’s side is from Vigo Ton (Vich per Nones).

100th Anniversary of Armistice and How It Changed Our Heritage

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Map prior to 1803 of Tyrol with Bishopric of Trent and Bishopric of Brixen

One hundred years ago on November 11, 1918, the ethnicity and homeland of the Tyrolean people changed. For on that day the Armistice of World War I was signed, breaking apart the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Shortly afterwards, on September 10, 1919, the Treaty of Saint Germain was signed, formerly annexing German-speaking South Tyrol and Italian-speaking Trentino to Italy. For centuries this entire area was inclusively known as “Tyrol”. With signing of the 1919 treaty, the region of Tyrol located south of the Alps was transferred from Austria and now became the northern Italian provinces of Trentino-Alto Adige.

According to Lou Brunelli, publisher of “Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans”, Tyrol had a long cultural history stretching back 915 years under Austrian sovereignty:

  • 800 years under the Bishopric of Trento
  • 115 years under the Austrian Empire

In comparison, Italy was a young country, having only become a unified Kingdom (a monarchy) in 1861. By 1922 it fell into a Fascist dictatorship under Mussolini. After World War II, Italy became a democratic republic on June 2, 1946.

View of the Dolomites from Bolzano/Bozen, Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

For most of the past millennia our ancestral lands were influenced and controlled by Austria. Although our ancestors spoke Italian and regional dialect, their nationality and passports prior to 1919 stated that they were citizens of Austria, as they had been for centuries. Now with the stroke of a pen (and much political maneuvering by Italy), the region became Italian. (The events that lead up to Tyrol becoming part of Italy and the subsequent suppression of Tyrolean culture is a complicated and involved story. If you would like to read more about the history of this region, I have provided informational links at the end of this blog post.)

View of Val di Non from Castelfondo, Trentino

Since most Tyroleans emigrated to the United States prior to the 1918/1919 annexation, they came to America as Austrian citizens, and were never really considered Italians. However our relatives who remained in Trentino, now officially became Italian citizens. Mr. Brunelli told me that 97% of USA-bound immigrants arrived before the annexation and were not subjected to the subsequent Nationalism fueled by Fascism that occurred particularly in the Province of Alto Adige/Sud Tirol. 

The confusion of ethnicity for Tyrolean immigrants is reflected in the United States Federal Census. My immediate family is identified in three different censuses as: Austrian, Swiss and Italian! I have seen other Tyroleans listed in census as Bavarians and Czechoslovakians. But when you research our shared genealogy, you realize that all of these families are from the same region of the Val di Non, often from the same village! For those unaware of historical events, the 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Censuses can seem bewildering when it refers to ethnicity. Are we Austrian, German or Italian? Is Tyrolean an ethnicity if it doesn’t exist as a country?

San Genesio/Jenesien with view of Dolomites, Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

In the latest issue of Filò (Volume 19), publisher Lou Brunnelli (a 1st generation Tyrolean American) offers an insightful answer to the cultural and ethnic questions that plague American descendants of Tyrolean ancestors. He has given me permission to reprint this issue’s Introduction here:

Dear Tyrolean American …

Father Bolognani, the historian, sociologist, and apostle of our Tyrolean American community asserted the following … “A strange situation hindered the immigrants from the Trentino, making life more difficult for them then for other ethnic groups that arrived as the same time. Though they spoke no German and were Italian by language, they belonged to the Austrian empire and held Austrian passports. Considering themselves Austrian, or Tyrolean, they did not settle in cities as did most Italians. A search for their identity was difficult.” In other words, our people sought their definition, their differentiation from other groups. As their homeland, the ancient Tyrol was annexed by President Wilson and the Allies without a plebiscite [direct vote by eligible voters to decide an important public question] to Italy, they literally became ethnic orphans as Italy adopted a process of Italianization, becoming Fascist and then our [America’s] political adversary as they declared war on us in their affiliation with the Axis Powers. Defeated in the war and recovered with our American help, Italy became culturally adverse by no longer differentiating our history [Tyrolean] and our identity and imposing on us an identity that they had evolved while forgetting ours. What happened after the annexation, happened there and not here [America] … to them and not to us.

The Filò does not engage in a political polemic but legitimately and justifiably seeks to differentiate, to enhance the literacy and legitimacy of our historic existence and experience. Article by article it asserts with pride and joy: that who we are is who we were! ~ Lou Brunnelli

Image result for italian map trentino alto adige

Modern map of the northern Italian provinces of Trentino (dark pink) and Alto Adige (light pink)

I find it fascinating that our immigrant ancestors brought to America a culture that they kept alive in small communities, but that 100 years later many might say no longer exists in their ancestral homeland. Even today there is a conflict brewing between Austria and Italy concerning the proposed dual-citizenship for German-speaking South Tyroleans (see articles noted below).

Many of us were told as children that we were Tyrolean, not Italian. This concept might seem confusing to our cousins in Italy. But our grandparents and great-grandparents arrived in America as Austrians, became United States citizens and never accepted the label of “Italian”. From the scribbling and crossing out of country origins I have viewed in the US Census, our ancestors were just as confused about their ethnicity after the annexation as we are today attempting to describe our own background as Tyrolean Americans.

In conclusion, I take no sides and make no opinions concerning the ethnicity of Trentino-Alto Adige. I present this information only as a means to bring understanding to our shared Tyrolean American experience, place our ancestry in context to the 1918 Armistice and grasp how the events of the past century have changed Tyrol and its people.

My thanks to Lou Brunelli for sharing his knowledge and insights of Tyrolean culture. I highly recommend subscribing to Lou’s publication Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans. It is a quarterly magazine provided free of charge to the descendants of Tyrolean immigrants.

Click here to register for a subscription to Filò

 

For more information see:

Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans (where you can scroll through current and past issues of Filò)

World War I Armistice Signed: November 11, 1918 – 100th Anniversary

History of South Tyrol

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919)

South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture)

Italy and Austria at odds over South Tyrol dual-citizenship

Italy’s South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers

Iceman – New Movie About Otzi

I can’t wait to see this movie! “Iceman” is about Otzi, the world’s oldest preserved mummy and an ancestral Tyrolean. He lived 5,300 years ago during the Bronze Age in what is now the Italian Alps.The fictional story line was created around facts discovered about the famous Iceman, such as his death was a result of being shot with an arrow. In an interesting twist, the movie was filmed using the ancient Rhaetian language, spoken by the people of the Eastern Alpine region (Northern Italy, Southern Germay, Eastern Switzerland, Slovenia and Western Austria) during the pre-Roman and Roman periods.

I hope “Iceman” is made available to US audiences soon!

Click here to see the movie trailer for “Iceman”!

Want to know more about the Rhaetian Language? Click here.

FYI – Some interesting news!

garygenettipodcastOur cousin, master glass artist Gary Genetti, was interviewed recently for “Inspirational Creatives” podcast. I love listening to podcasts and this show was of particular interest to me since I also have a background in the arts. Gary’s interview is very insightful, offering a personal glimpse into his creative and life philosophy. Find “Inspirational Creatives” at iTunes. Congrats Gary – great job! Click here to access their website and listen to Inspirational Creatives Podcast. Gary’s episode is #194.

And from one of our cousins in Italy, Chiara Dalla Nogare, here is information about an exchange opportunity between youth in Trentino and the descendants of Trentino immigrants. If you are a Genetti descendant whose family originated in Castelfondo, Trentino – and a young adult, you might be eligible for this fantastic program. The information is available in Italian, English and Spanish. Click here to access the website MondoTrentino. Thank you Chiara for sharing this wonderful program with your American cousins.

More About Ötzi, The Iceman

Otzi The Iceman

This life size model of Otzi, created by Dutch artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis, is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Photograph by Robert Clark – National Geographic.

For all of you Ötzi fans, The Iceman has been making the news recently.

PBS just aired an informative NOVA episode, “Iceman Reborn”, filming the unique process used to create an identical replica of the Tyrolean mummy. Ötzi’s twin will be available to scientists who are unable to observe the famous ice mummy in person.

Paleo-artist, Gary Staab, worked for five months to reproduce the first of three copies utilizing cutting edge techniques in 3-D printing combined with his extraordinary talent of observation and artistic skill. I loved the program!

Read an interview with artist, Gary Staab at the Smithsonian: http://goo.gl/ZZHSOz

Or, watch the PBS NOVA episode at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365669542/

In other Ötzi news – The Iceman Speaks! Well … not quite. Scientists are in the process of recreating Ötzi’s vocal tract, including his vocal cords and mouth. The experiment will then combine the replica with software that will approximate what Ötzi’s voice sounded like 5,300 years ago.

Of course scientists have no idea what language was spoken by the famous Tyrolean, since the earliest written inscriptions by humans appear around 1500 BC. Ötzi’s birth date is between 3359 and 3105 BC. According to project coordinator, Francesco Avanzini, “We should be able to recreate the timbre of his vowel sounds and, I hope, even create simulation of consonants.” How exciting!

Click here to read the article “Can mummies talk? Scientists find out” by The Christian Science Monitor.

See more photos of Ötzi, published in the March 2016 issue of National Geographic, click here.

Want to get up-close and personal with The Iceman, then hop on over to Ötzi’s home at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology: http://www.iceman.it/en