Dozens of marks dot the body of 5,000-year-old European mummy
A. Deter-Wolf et al/Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 2016
In a battle over which of two mummified guys possesses the world’s oldest known tattoos, Ötzi the Iceman has triumphed.
Hikers found Ötzi’s 5,250-year-old body poking out of ice in the Italian Alps in 1991. Ötzi’s 61 tattoos — groups of dark lines on his left wrist, lower legs, back and ribs — were produced by rubbing charcoal into skin incisions.
A mummified man from South America’s Chinchorro culture sports mustachelike lines of tattooed dots on each side of his nose, which some researchers regard as the world’s oldest tattoos. But a new analysis of previous radiocarbon dating indicates that the Chinchorro man — whose body was excavated in Chile in the 1980s — lived no more than 4,563 years ago, say archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf of the Tennessee Division of Archaeology in Nashville and his colleagues.
Multiple misinterpretations of the dating had put the Chilean man at 6,000, then