THE ICEMAN’S VOICE
Thanks to the collaboration with SINTAC, a company that assists me for the neck surgery, we were able to process the data obtained from spiral CT scan, performed at the Hospital of Bolzano, using advanced software for CAD design. From the study and elaboration of these data, an accurate three-dimensional reconstruction was obtained. Similar models, in clinical practice are necessary for the realization of the anatomical replicas used both for the pre-operative study, and for the subsequent fabrication of surgical guides, regenerative and individual dentures membranes. Our aim was to reposition the bones of the mummy’s neck in order to allow a correct reconstruction of the vocal-tract and make a series of measurements, algorithms developed by Prof. Piero Cosi of the: Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione di Padova (“Fonetica e Dialettologia” C.N.R.) in order to produce a series of voice frequencies and harmonic composition of the Iceman’s voice.
The first step was to move virtually the left arm positioning it along the left side of the body and to free the front of the neck, to obtain the location for the execution of the CT as if it were a living being.
We then identified and distinguished the different components of the bony base of the skull, jaw bone, jaw and vertebrae C1 to D1.
Otzi’s hyoid bone is considerably high, backward, rotated and fractured and only a meticulous reconstruction has allowed the correct positioning. We were able to take advantage of the calcified areas of the thyroid cartilage to achieve its correct reconstruction and repositioning. In order to “reposition virtually” the bone structures we rotated the skull and placed it in axis, then closed his mouth, so that the teeth clenched. As for the cervical track, we were able to remove from the DICOM files of the TAC a reference model correctly positioned of an adult male with a body compatible with that of Oetzi. Very carefully and trying to be as precise as possible we aligned the vertebrae of the mummy, overlapping them with precision to achieve the correct posture of the base of the skull and cervical spine of D1 from Atlas column. We thus achieved a very good replication and we were able to compare it to the reference model.
We possessed so all the various reference points for a correct reconstruction of the areas and spaces that are crossed by the voice produced by the vocal chords and issued from his lips. The reconstruction of these spaces and their precise location in relation to the neck bones allowed measurement of their different diameters and lengths. These measurements and these values, were inserted in the algorithms of the Institute of Experimental Phonetics allow the synthesis of a compatible and likely speech product.