The oldest tattoos belong to the mummified “iceman”, aka Ötzi, who also holds the record for the world’s oldest ice body.

His 5,300-year-old body was found in the Alps in 1991 covered in 57 tattoos.

Ötzi was found in 1991 in more than 3,200 meters on a glacier at the Italian-Austrian border. He is exceptionally well preserved and is considered the oldest in Europe, from about 3300 f.Kr.

He had 57 tattoos, the world’s oldest, which is preserved. Some are located at acupuncture points used in modern acupuncture therapy to treat arthritis in the spine, hips, knees and ankles, and possibly stomachache. However, it is unknown how old Ötzi was when he was tattooed. The tattoos are of soot, taken from a fireplace. According to Professor Maria Anna Pabst can be constructed with a thorn or a needle of bone. The patterns that recur are of parallel lines, up to seven. On one knee found a cross. Clothes hid most of the tattoos, so they hardly suffered as a decoration, but rather more pragmatic reasons. Professor Don Brothwell at the University of York has ruled that Otzi’s tattoos were at the sites of joint pain bothered him. This may explain the tattoo right “random” distribution of body parts where they may have served as status markers.


Ötzi had two pieces of the fungal species Piptoporus betulinus at all times. It grows on trees and can be used against parasitic worms, he was suffering, and that bothered him with symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain. Both Grauballe Man and Tollund part moreover of intestinal worms .The fungus appears to have been the only bode remedy against this parasitic worms was known in Europe before coming other instruments after the discovery of America. The fungus has played an important role in folk medicine, and it may therefore have done for over 5,000 years.