Oldest Known Tattoos Confirmed To Belong To tzi The Iceman Mummy


Who said that tattoos dont age well? It has been confirmed the first tattoos ever recorded belong to tzi the Tyrolean iceman, a 5,000-year-old naturally-preserved mummy.

The earliest known tattooed human was thought to be an unidentified South American Chinchorro mummy. However, a new study has shown that this mummy is not as old as previously thought.
It was initially thought the South American mummy walked the Earth around 6000 BCE. Although, the study in the Journal of Archaeological Science reports that the previous radiocarbon dating results on the Chinchorro mummy were actually 4,000 years off.The oldest known tattoo titlehas now been awarded to tzi, who is believed to have got inked up somewhere between 3370 and 3100 BCE.
tzi was found in the tztalAlps on the Austrian-Italian borderby hikers in 1991. Earlier this year, researchers usingtechniques developed to study paintingsrevealed he had 61 tattoos, most of which consist of thin, parallel black lines or crosses and can be found on both sides of his spine, the left calf, the right instep, both sides of his ankle joint and on the right of his torso.

image credit: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology / EURAC / Samadelli

image credit: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology / EURAC / Samadelli

Theres very little written record of tattooing practises from antiquity. However, archaeologists and anthropologists believe they were often used to denote social status, express group affiliation or even used in an attempt to channel supernatural forces. Interestingly, tzis tattoos are thought to have been therapeutic and medicinal, with ancient culturesbelievingtattoos had healing properties thatcould relieve physical ailments and illness.

This suggests the first known tattoo was actually “medicinal” and didn’t serve a cosmetic or social function, unlike theChinchorro mummy’s tattoos which are thought to be cosmetic.His tattoo was of numerous black dots in a line on his upper lip,where the moustache would be.

The researchers believe it is highly unlikely that tzi was the first tattooed person on Earth, though. They hope through new archaeological finds and more advanced dating techniquesthey will find a tattoo which is much older than 5,200 years.

image credit: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology / EURAC / Samadelli

image credit: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology / EURAC / Samadelli

Source: Array

Wonder Of Science


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