Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing

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Lars Krutak, Aaron Deter-Wolf
University of Washington Press, Nov 28, 2017 - Art - 392 pages

The desire to alter and adorn the human body is universal. While specific forms of body decoration, and the underlying motivations, vary according to region, culture, and era, all human societies have engaged in practices designed to augment and enhance their natural appearance. Tattooing, the process of inserting pigment into the skin to create permanent designs and patterns, appears on human mummies by 3200 BCE and was practiced by ancient cultures throughout the world.

Ancient Ink, the first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new research from across the globe examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art. It contributes to our understanding of the antiquity, durability, and significance of tattooing and human body decoration and illuminates how different societies have used their skin to construct their identities. Ancient Ink connects ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists.


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References 295
Contributors 339

Tattooing in Papua New Guinea

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About the author (2017)

Lars Krutak is a research associate in the department of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He is the 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, Analyn Salvador-Amores, Gemma Angel, Ronald G. Beckett, Tara Nicole Clark, Colin Dale, Ren e Friedman, Louise Furey, Svetlana Pankova, Dario Piombino-Mascali, Luc Renaut, Benoit Robitaille, Dong Hoon Shin, Isaac Walters, Leonid Yablonsky, and Petar N. Zidarov.

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