Zermatt: A View of the “Mercenary’s” World


The “mercenary”, who was found at the Theodul Pass above Zermatt, is a sensational glacier discovery. Now, the History Museum has published a paper on the “mercenary.” The scientific findings from these human remains provide insight into life in this region for the period around 1600.

In 1984, Peter Lehner and Annemarie Julen-Lehner from Zermatt found fragments of a skull and other human objects in the Theodul Glacier above Zermatt. The remains of a male, who was named “the mercenary”, have now been examined and researched scientifically. The results have been published in volume 13 of the publication series of the Valais History Museum under the title “400 Years in the Glacier Ice – the Theodul Pass near Zermatt and its ‘Mercenary’.” The work is dedicated to the Valais “Ötzi” – the name previously given a similar find in Austria – and is published jointly by Sophie Providoli, art historian and archaeologist, Philippe Curdy, archaeologist, and Patrick Elsig, historian. The published essay makes clear what the importance of the “mercenary” is for the cultural heritage of Valais. Furthermore, this volume presents the finding of this research work, which has been dedicated since then to this finding.
The “mercenary”, who died on the Theodul Pass around 1600, was given this name because of the weapon, which was found next to him. Besides “Ötzi”, this is the oldest glacier corpse in Europe. The equipment of the nobleman bears witness to life at that time. Among other things, one found a pocket pistol, a folding straight razor as well as a previously unknown shoe shape.


400 Years in the Glacier Ice – the Theodul Pass near Zermatt and its ‘Mercenary’ (only in German)
Published jointly under the direction of Sophie Providoli, Philippe Curdy and Patrick Elsig.
Publication series of the History Museum, no. 15. hier + Jetzt press, Baden, 2015.
240 pages, 200 colour illustrations, 25x21 cm, bound.
Price: CHF 39. ISBN 978-3-03919-370-7