Therapeutic Tattoos and Ancient Mummies: The Case of the Iceman

  title={Therapeutic Tattoos and Ancient Mummies: The Case of the Iceman},
  author={Dario Piombino‐Mascali and Lars F. Krutak},
Tattoos have been reported from human remains representing a wide range of cultures and time periods. While the practice of tattooing can be studied using a variety of types of historical evidence, antiquity leaves only naturally and deliberately preserved human skin as a direct source. Today, scholarly research recognizes the Tyrolean Iceman known as Otzi, dating from 5300 years ago, as the mummy with the oldest tattoos. A complete mapping of this mummy’s tattoos was recently reported. This… 


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If the authors are to fully comprehend the meanings that tattoos have carried across human history and into the present, then it would be useful to explore some of the ways tattoos, as instruments that transmit culture, have been deployed cross-culturally through time.