Monday, July 21, 2008

The Iceman

These are just a few of the 50-some tattoos on the body of Otzi the Iceman, who has the distinction of being the oldest mummified human body ever found. He died around 5300 years ago, apparently as a result of murder, and was quickly buried by ice which kept his body from deteriorating completely. Being that many of his tattoos are near arthritic parts of his body it is widely believed that they were meant to be therapeutic. His tattoos are quite simple; no elaborate images here, they are only lines and groups of lines.

As you can see, his tattoos are all over his body. And while some of the tattoos appear near arthritic spots the same can't be said for all of Otzi's tattoos. The others may be purely artistic or signs of status. Otzi was not an average guy as he lived past the age of 50, double the average age of most folks in 3300 BCE. So, he must have been well-fed and had access to the medical care of the day. I find Otzi and his tattoos fascinating. Was he a nobleman of some sort to be so lucky to live so long? Was he a shaman to be blessed with so much ancient ink? We'll probably never know but I still thinks it's awesome that the oldest human body ever found had numerous tattoos.

P.S. I also think it's awesome that hometown boy Brad Pitt has Otzi on his arm.

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