The following article, extracted from the British Daily Telegraph, appeared in our local paper this morning. August 23, 2004
"MELTING GLACIER YIELDS FIRST WORLD WAR BODIES"
ROME: The mummified bodies of a small group of Austrian soldiers killed in the First World War have emerged remarkably intact from a thawing glacier which has preserved them for almost 90 years.
Maurizio Vicenzi, an alpine rescue volunteer, stumbled upon the soldiers, still dressed in their tattered uniforms, about 3,500 metres up on the Dei Forni glacier near the Swiss and Austrian borders in the Italian Alps on Friday.
It is thought they died in the battle of Punta San Matteo, fought above 3,000 metres and along a 50 km. front in the Ortles-Cevedale group of glaciers. It is said to be the highest altitude battle in history.
Local reports differed as to whether there were three or four bodies, but seemed to agree that the remains were tangled in such a way as to suggest that the men may have died or been buried together.
Before their remains were able to be removed - attempts to send a recovery team in by helicopter had to be postponed until Sunday due to high winds - Vicenzi used a camera to record the extrodinary spectacle he had found.
After walking for hours alone looking for memorabilia of the Great War, Vicenzi, who runs a small museum featuring finds relinquished by thawing glaciers, spotted a "dark stain" 20 metres away, down a precipitous wall of ice. "It looked like a rock" he later said.
But when he looked theough his binoculars, he instead made out a dark mummified hand, protruding from clothing in rags.
He said that the soldiers had almostcertainly died on September 3, 1918 in one of the many battles fought in dizzying heights along the 600 kn. long Italian-Austrian front between 1915-18.
The discovery is thought to be the first of mummified remains of soldiers ever to come to light from the Great War.
Glacial thawing in the same area of north-eastern Italy, blamed on global warming, revealed several years ago a skeleton of a soldier and remnants of the so-called "city of ice" which Austro-Hungarian troops built inside it during the First World War, including indications of bunkers, , barracks, cells, corridors and storage areas.
Similar thawing in the Similuan glacier, in the same Trentino Alto Adige region as Friday's discovery was made, led to the discovery in 1991 of Otzi, a hunterhunter who had lived some 3,500 years ago."
Does anyone know anythiing about this battle or about the "city of ice". It took place, it seems, just a couple of months before the armistice.