Lesson 1.7: Social Studies Connection

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Cold-Blooded Murder?

This is a case that even Sherlock Holmes might have found difficult to solve. Not long ago, high in the mountains of Italy, two hikers discovered the body of a man preserved in ice. Scientists determined that the frozen body was at least 5,300 years old. They even gave the "iceman" a cool nickname, "Otzi" (UHT-zee), after the Otztal Valley in Italy where he was found.

At first, it looked as if Otzi had frozen to death in a snowstorm. Researchers now believe that the prehistoric iceman was murdered. The scientists say that Otzi died after being shot in the back with an arrow, possibly after fighting with one or more of his attackers.

How did the scientists reach their conclusion? First, they took DNA samples from the iceman. (DNA is the substance that carries the instructions that make up living things by passing on hereditary information.) Then the scientists compared the iceman's DNA with traces of blood found on his clothing and weapons. This revealed that the blood came from four other humans!

The results of other tests showed a stone arrowhead buried in Otzi's left shoulder. Studies of Otzi's hands, ribs, and wrists revealed stab wounds and bruises, which he might have suffered as he tried to fight off his attackers. He was found clutching a knife blade.

"He must have been in a combat situation for between 24 to 48 hours before he died," said scientist Tom Loy.

Word Wise

preserve:
Save something before it spoils: We preserved the fresh peaches by canning some and freezing others.

prehistoric:
Occurring before written history: The mammoth was a prehistoric animal who looked much like an elephant.

hereditary:
Characteristics that are passed on from parent to child: Eye color and hair color are hereditary characteristics.

bruise:
An injury to the body without broken skin: Falling down the stairs left a bruise on Ethan's knee.

clutch:
Hold tightly: My little sister clutches her teddy bear when she goes to sleep.

combat:
A fight: The cats were about to go into combat until they saw their food bowls.

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Activity

Two of your vocabulary words, preserve and prehistoric, each begin with the prefix pre-. This prefix can mean earlier, before, in advance, or in front of.

The following words all begin with the prefix pre-. Write each one in a sentence. Then share your sentences with the class or with a partner. Explain what the prefix pre- means in each word.

  • predict
  • preorder
  • preslice
  • prewash
  • preapprove

Data Hunt

You have read that Otzi was buried in ice about 5,300 years ago. Long after Otzi's time, but still very long ago, an entire town was buried under ashes for hundreds of years.

About 20,000 people once lived in the Roman town of Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius stood at one end of the town. In the year 79 AD the volcano at the center of the mountain erupted. Burning lava burst up from the volcano and flowed down over the sides of the mountain. The lava completely covered the city, burying all its buildings and all its people. As the lava cooled, it turned to ash. There was so much ash that nothing of the town could be seen.

Pompeii was forgotten for many years. Then, in 1592, a Roman architect digging in the region found an amphitheater below the ash. Over the years, much more digging was done. By now, many of Pompeii's buildings and even the remains of some people have been found. Yet there is still much, much more digging to be done.

Copy the table below onto a piece of paper. Write each of these numbers in expanded form, in expanded form with exponents, in word form, and in short word form:

Number Expanded Form Expanded Form with Exponents Word Form Short Word Form
5,300        
20,000        
79        
1,592