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A 2,000-year-old tattoo needle still has a lid

Tattoo Artifact
Andrew Gillreath-Brown
Enlarge / Tattoo Artifact
Andrew Gillreath-Brown

Bub Hubner / WSU

It's a simple object about a modern pen: it divides two parallel parallel cactuses, black touches, tips and skunkbrush sumacin 89 mm (3.5 inches) split handles. But its simplicity hides its meaning. Sometimes, from the beginning of the usual era, the People of Ancestral People living in the southwest of Utah got a tattoo of black ink. 2,000 years later, archaeologists relied on the needle and, after 40 years of age, Andrew Gillreath-Brown discovered a box in the museum's warehouse, spotting the tips of inkjet cactus spikes.

Gillreath-Brown investigated black pigments under the microscope microscope for a better appearance of crystalline structure, and studied chemistry with x-ray fluorescence. It was a high carbon, the true body-dye and tattoo-dye used today. 2,000 years ago, it is one of the oldest tattoos ever found in western North America. It is part of a prehistoric North American history that archaeologists know very little.

Tattoos have had important roles in different cultures around the world, but anthropologists do not understand the origin of art. That is precisely because there is still little evidence and something we can see, sometimes the stranger's tattoos may be enigmatic as living creatures.

Otzi, who died about 5,000 years ago and was mummified at an alpine glacier ending, kept the tattoo set very well, could be the product of a western version of acupuncture. But we can not be sure, because Otzi and his tattoo artist do not have a comment on meaning. In the southwest of the US, where archaeologists have never encountered tattoos that did not find an old dress, we know what the prehistoric body art was, how it was created and what it meant.

When he crossed the old tattoo tool that was working on an inventory of the Gillreath-Brown museum collection. "Src =" "width =" 640 "height =" 427 "srcset =" https: //cdn.arstechnica .net / wp-content / uploads / 2019/02 / 194078-1280x854.jpg 2x
Enlarge / When he crossed the old tattoo tool that was working on an inventory of the Gillreath-Brown museum collection.

Bub Hubner / WSU

While Southwestern people did tattoos, ceramics and rock artwork sometimes show human figures like tattooed art. Archaeologists have found some tattoo tools in New Mexico and Arizona, the oldest of which are from 920 to 740 years old. We now know that Gillreath-Brown's older needle is much more similar to the collection in the museum, with cactus spine tips.

"Tattoos of Southwestern prehistoric people do not have much to talk about, because there is no proven proof," said Gillreath-Brown at a press conference. "This tattoo tool does not know the prevailing indigenous culture of South West."

It is a significant step forward, with so much detail on the life and culture of the old town, and at the same time that other Southwestern cultures in the US have been lost. We know that hunters were less than 500 EC, when they began to cultivate corn and to have a more sedentary life in the houses. We know that they have made baskets and they have painted painted and painted images around the rocks around the southwest of America. But some drops of ink offer a lot more connection to the old people at the end of a needle.

Magazine of Archaeological Sciences: Reports, 2019. DOI: 10.1016 / j.jasrep.2019.02.015; (About DOI).

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