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Extreme-Ink 3,300 – 3,200 B.C. Iceman was Inked



The oldest physical body in existence, the Iceman (3300-3200 B.C.) is inked. The Iceman has the oldest tattoos that have ever been preserved. He has a black cross tattooed on the inside of his left knee six straight lines on his lower back, and parallel lines on his wrists, leg, and ankles. Scientists decided to X-Ray the Iceman, they discovered joint disease under each tattoo, which suggest that the tattoos were believed to relieve pain. (Maybe this is how the saying; “No Pain, No Gain” came about?)


In the Ancient Egyptian Times, Tattoos were popular and Culturally Accepted

While designs that apparently represent tattoos are seen on paintings of both men and women in Egyptian art and statues, all the tattooed Egyptian mummies discovered to date are female. Egyptologists believe that these designs are symbols of fertility and rejuvenation.


Polynesian tattooing as it existed before the arrival of Europeans in the South Pacific was the most intricate, artistic and skillful tattooing in the ancient times.

Archeologists have discovered tools in France, Portugal, and Scandinavia that were probably used for tattooing. These are at least 12,000 years old, or from the time of the last Ice Age.


The earliest known tattoo that represents something other than an abstract pattern is of the god Bes (the Egyptian god of revelry). These tattoos have been found on female Nubian mummies dating from 400 B.C.


The Greeks learned tattooing from the Persians and used tattoos to mark slaves and criminals so they could be identified if they tried to escape. The Romans learned it from the Greeks and would tattoo “fug” on the foreheads of slaves for “fugitive.”


The oldest known description of tattoo technique with a formula for tattoo ink is found in Medicae artis principes (1567). The formula for ink included Egyptian pine wood (especially the bark), corroded bronze,  leek juice, vinegar, gall and vitriol.

Ancient methods for tattoo removal include using scum on the bottom of chamber pot mixed with “very strong vinegar” or pigeon feces mixed with vinegar and applied as poultice “for a long time”. Other formulas include dried beetle mixed as a powder with sulfur, oil, and wax.



What do you think Iceman’s tattoos represent? 


(Please leave your answers, views, opinions & comments below)