Ötzi the “iceman” as he is known, is a 5,300 year old mummy who was found in Oetz Valley, Austria in 1991.

tattoo otzi knee
knee tattoo

He has a total of 61 tattoos. The tattoos are made up of crosses and lines throughout his body. It is still unknown whether his tattoos were for decoration, for religious reasons, or for therapeutic reasons. Though in 2013 it was found that his tattoos were mainly placed in areas of the body that could potentially go through a lot of stress and pain such as his ankles, wrists, knees, Achilles tendon, and lower back. Because of these findings it is speculated that these tattoos may have been an early form of acupuncture as well as decorative and/or religious or spiritual.

simple line tattoos on Ötzi

These tattoos were done by making incisions in the skin and filling them with ash.

Whatever the reason for his tattoos, Ötzi is significant to the tattoo world because he shows how long tattoos have been around.

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