Ötzi, Egypt, Mesopotamia, mummy, therapeutic
As one of the most permanent markings of culture etched into human skin, tattooing provides a unique view into the beliefs and practices of the human species. Tattooing has existed throughout human history, but it can be difficult to establish its true purpose and antiquity within early cultures. This is due in part to biological degradation and misclassification of the material implements of tattooing, as well as the scarcity of tattooed physical human remains. Archeological context and the identification of possible material artifacts associated with tattooing, along with the examination (or re-examination) of physical human remains for evidence of tattooing, will help place tattooing's presence and purpose within a historical context. For this paper, I reviewed ten scientific journal articles on the subject of tattooing within early cultures. Current investigations into the proposed purposes of early tattoos focus on iconographic and symbolic use, as well as cross-cultural therapeutic application. Tattoos, as instruments that transmit culture, can provide new insights into ancient societies and thereby reveal new avenues for exploring the visual language of Paleolithic times.
Hawken, Kate, "Tattooing Antiquity, Symbolism, and Practice in Early Cultures" (2022). Anthropology Department Scholars Week. 6.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Tattooing--History--To 1500; Body art--History--To 1500
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