The Archaeology of Tattooing
- PUBLISHED: January 2018
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Archaeology, Visual Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 368 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 24 color illus., 157 b&w illus., 7 maps, 2 tables
- ISBN: 9780295742823
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
The human desire to adorn the body is universal and timeless. While specific forms of body decoration and the motivations for them vary by region, culture, and era, all human societies have engaged in practices designed to augment and enhance people’s natural appearance. Tattooing, the process of inserting pigment into the skin to create permanent designs and patterns, is one of the most widespread forms of body art and was practiced by ancient cultures throughout the world, with tattoos appearing on human mummies by 3200 BCE. Ancient Ink, the first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new, globe-spanning research examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art. Connecting ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists, the volume’s contributors reveal the antiquity, durability, and significance of body decoration, illuminating how different societies have used their skin to construct their identities.
Authors & Contributors
Lars Krutak is a research associate at the Museum of International Folk Art. He is author of Tattoo Traditions of Native North America: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity and Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoos and Scarification. Aaron Deter-Wolf is a prehistoric archaeologist for the Tennessee Division of Archaeology and senior editor of Drawing with Great Needles: Ancient Tattoo Traditions of North America. The contributors are Orlando V. Abinion, Gemma Angel, Ronald G. Beckett, Tara Nicole Clark, Colin Dale, Renée Friedman, Louise Furey, Svetlana Pankova, Dario Piombino-Mascali, Luc Renaut, Benoît Robitaille, Analyn Salvador-Amores, Dong Hoon Shin, Isaac Walters, Leonid T. Yablonsky, and Petar N. Zidarov.
Acknowledgments Introduction / Aaron Deter-Wolf and Lars Krutak Part One | Skin 1. New Tattoos from Ancient Egypt: Defining Marks of Culture / Renée Friedman 2. Burik: Tattoos of the Ibaloy Mummies of Benguet, North Luzon, Philippines / Analyn Salvador-Amores 3. Reviving Tribal Tattoo Traditions of the Philippines / Lars Krutak 4. The Mummification Process among the "Fire Mummies" of Kabayan: A Paleohistological Note / Dario Piombino-Mascali, Ronald G. Beckett, Orlando V. Abinion, and Dong Hoon Shin 5. Identifications of Iron Age Tattoos from the Altai-Sayan Mountains in Russia / Svetlana Pankova 6. Neo-Pazyryk Tattoos: A Modern Revival / Colin Dale and Lars Krutak 7. Recovering the Nineteenth-Century European Tattoo: Collections, Contexts, and Techniques / Gemma Angel 8. After You Die: Preserving Tattooed Skin / Aaron Deter-Wolf and Lars Krutak Part Two | Tools 9. The Antiquity of Tattooing in Southeastern Europe / Petar N. Zidarov 10. Balkan Ink: Europe’s Oldest Living Tattoo Tradition / Lars Krutak 11. Archaeological Evidence for Tattooing in Polynesia and Micronesia / Louise Furey 12. Reading Between Our Lines: Tattooing in Papua New Guinea / Lars Krutak 13. Scratching the Surface: Mistaken Identifications of Tattoo Tools from Eastern North America / Aaron Deter-Wolf, Benoît Robitaille, and Isaac Walters 14. Native North American Tattoo Revival / Lars Krutak 15. The Discovery of a Sarmatian Tattoo Toolkit in Russia / Leonid T. Yablonsky 16. Further Evaluation of Tattooing Use-Wear on Bone Tools / Aaron Deter-Wolf and Tara Nicole Clark Part Three | Art 17. What to Make of the Prehistory of Tattooing in Europe? / Luc Renaut 18. Sacrificing the Sacred: Tattooed Prehistoric Ivory Figures of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska / Lars Krutak 19. A Long Sleep: Reawakening Tattoo Traditions in Alaska / Lars Krutak References Contributors Index
"Ancient Ink is a significant volume, not only because it is a large collection of important essays that investigate tattooing in the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical record, but also because it seriously and systematically addresses and documents the antiquity and revival of human body decoration through tattooing. I recommend this comprehensive and outstanding book for anyone interested in appreciating and understanding the roots of ancient tattooing and the long history of its practices, revivals, and technologies."- David H. Dye, Journal of Anthropological Research
"Krutak and Deter-Wolf have brought together an impressive group of scholars to write about the antiquity and persistence of a near-universal human activity."- Tanya M. Peres, Florida State University
"Tattooing is as popular today as at any time in human history, and Ancient Ink will help the layman, as well as the scholar, better understand how we got here."- C. W. Eldridge, Tattoo Archive, Winston Salem, North Carolina
"As tattooing has become massively popular, the world has commodified our trade for cash, television shows, magazines, and flash books. Thankfully, every now and then a significant publication comes along that is created by people who know its history and are themselves tattooed. Ancient Ink is an important book and a must for every library."- Henk Schiffmacher, tattoo artist and author, the Netherlands
"With contributions by leading lights in the growing field of tattoo studies, Ancient Ink is essential reading for tattoo scholars, artists, and enthusiasts—anyone who cares about the history and diversity of this ancient global practice and its modern iterations."- Margot Mifflin, author of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo
"A careful, measured, detailed, well-researched, and interesting volume. It updates a huge range of scholarship on tattoo practices from across the globe."- Matthew Lodder, tattoo art historian, University of Essex