New research on Ötzi the Iceman, an exquisitely preserved 5,300-year-old human found in a European glacier, shows that he ate a form of dry-cured meat known as “speck”—a fatty, bacon-like snack that’s still found on charcuterie boards today.
In other words, prehistoric, Copper Age Europeans were eating a form of prosciutto over 5,000 years ago. The remarkable discovery was made by European Academy of Bolzano mummy expert Albert Zink, who has been studying the stomach contents of Ötzi the Iceman for years. Back in 2011, Zink found traces of Ibex—a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps—preserved in the mummy’s stomach. This latest research adds a new level of detail to his original finding, showing that Ötzi ate dry-cured meat that was prepared in a very bacon-like way.