The oldest tattoo in the world

Tattoos were known to all ancient cultures and on all continents.

However, the oldest tattoo does not come from Africa or Asia as some would assume, but from Europe.

The oldest known tattoo is on the most famous mummy in the world – Ötzi. Ötzi died 5,200 years ago while trying to cross the Alps.

The researchers found 61 tattoos on Ötzi body. The tattoos had no aesthetic purpose, but rather a health purpose. The tattoos were carried out as a type of acupuncture, making this the oldest evidence of the use of tattoos as a therapeutic tool.

Klaus Taschwer, Selbstversuch klärt Rätsel, wie Ötzi zu seinen 61 Tätowierungen kam, Der Standard, 10. 4. 2024.

Laura Geggel, Fresh Ink: Mummified Iceman Has New Tattoo, Live Science, 28. 1. 2015.

The oldest tattoo in the world.

Image credit Marco Samadelli. 

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