Human Mummies pp 239-246 | Cite as

The corpse from the Porchabella-glacier in the Grisons, Switzerland (community of Bergün)

  • B. Kaufmann
Conference paper
Part of the The Man in the Ice book series (3262, volume 3)


In the morning of the first of September 1988, at 8:30, Rudolf Käser, the keeper of the Kesch mountain hut (belonging to the Swiss Alpine Club) called the district police at Filisur: on the Porchabella-glacier some human remains and objects of mountaineering-equipment had been found (Figs. 1,2). The skeletal remains together with the objects had been discovered and handed over to the hut-keeper on the twenty third of August at about 8 o’clock in the evening by Marco Sommerau from Latsch, a small village in the Grisons at the entrance to the Tuor Valley. As in the meantime it had started to snow, the tracks had been covered up until the end of August. On the same day the police officer J. Zippert set off for the mountains, accompanied by Peter Raffainer from Bergün, the chief of the rescue squad of the Swiss Alpine Club. At the Kesch-hut, the wife of the keeper led them to the site of discovery. The police officer wrote in his report from the 8th of October 1988:

“These remains are human without doubt, and they have been photographed in their original position; I refer to the adjoining sheet of pictures (Fig. 3). Afterwards they were collected and taken away. The other day they were given for further examination to the police officer Giger from the department of criminal investigation of the canton of Grisons. There were no objects that would have allowed a reliable determination of its age or even an identification.

But it can be assumed that these remains are very old and come from a male person.

It cannot be excluded that in due time the glacier will expose further remains of the body. For future comparison copies of the photographs have been left with tha records at the police station.”


Police Officer Human Remains Skeletal Remains Rescue Squad Police Report 
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  1. Bay, R. (1958), Das Gebiß des Neanderthalers, in: Hundert Jahre Neanderthaler, Böhlau-Verlag, Köln — Graz, p. 123–140 (=Beihefte der Bonner Jahrbücher, Bd. 7).Google Scholar
  2. Ferembach, F. u. A. (1979), Empfehlungen für die Alters-und Geschlechtsdiagnose am Skelett. In: Homo 30, Anhang.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Kaufmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Anthropologisches ForschungsinstitutAesch/BISwitzerland

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