The earliest evidence for tattoos are artistic depictions
Tattoos have been around as early as the Neolithic Period (and possibly as early as the Upper Paleolithic). The earliest evidence for tattoos are artistic depictions. Our first direct evidence for tattoos comes from 3000 BCE. Otzi the Ice Man, who lived sometime between 3370-3100 BCE, is a preserved early man found in Europe. His skin still has tattoos. Is it exciting or terrifying that your tattoos could last for 5,000 years?
The word “tatau” comes from Samoan (a language of the Samoan people who live in the Pacific Islands). It was brought back to the Western World by James Cook. However, tattooing was not unknown to Western culture before this. It was known by other names.
The mummy was 5.000 years old and was preserved in excellent condition, thanks to ice. Tattoo marks are clearly visible on its skin. These marks were etched behind the knees and on the back – very unusual locations for tattoos, which are usually placed on highly visible parts of the body – and for this reason scholars are in agreement that these tattoos were made for therapeutic reasons, as a cure for back pain. Indeed, these tattoos are located in the same areas where acupuncture needles are placed to cure arthritis.