The oldest tattoo tool in North America is made from pear cactus needles

The oldest tattoo tool in North America is made from pear cactus needles


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Tattoos have always been a way to express something. Be it status, slavery, illness or bravery, since previous centuries the practice of tattooing has carried a message with it.

The origin of this activity is not exactly known, however, It is known that it originated on the border between Europe and Asia, more than five thousand years ago. One of the first tools that man invented to begin making skin graphics were pear cactus needles.

Recently, the researcher Andrew Gillreath ‑ Brown from the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University, discovered this tattoo tool, which would become the oldest in Western North America found so far.

Dated between AD 79 and 130, this utensil is made up of two pear cactus spines, tied with tapioca leaves or also known as yucca. It has the mango of sumac, of the Rhus trilobata species, which is a plant from western North America.

This rudimentary tattoo tool was found while making an inventory of archaeological objects, which came from the southeast of the state of Utah. As it is known, this is one of the most important indigenous localities in the United States.

According to Christopher Castrejón, spokesperson for superherramdamientos.es, throughout history human beings have always had the need to express themselves through different means, for which they have required tools. 'It is incredible how different utensils have been of vital importance to the evolutionary process of man. Each discovery shows us that our ingenuity was not only motivated by physiological needs, but also cultural and that is amazing', He declares.

To a large degree, tattoos have had an important meaning in the evolutionary life of the human being, since thanks to this now archaeologists, anthropologists and historians can study the messages left by our ancestors.

Washington State University released a statement in which Gillreath-Brown opined that the discovery of this tattoo tool is of great importance, since its study will allow us to understand how relationships were sustained in older years. Likewise, the researcher affirmed that it will be possible to know how they defined status in the past.

The discovery of this utensil has been of great importance for the archaeological communities since it will allow to initiate new investigations on the customs of the ancient man.

Like all human activities, tattoos have also gone through various stages of change. This is because the use of these ink marks on the skin were adapted to different times and situations.

So much so that in its beginnings, during the XI Egyptian dynasty, the priestess Amunet she was the first to wear black skin tags. In this mummy studied years later, several tattooed lines and points can be seen.

In the same way it was with the Asecond mummyOnly she had her pubic region tattooed. These two findings indicate that the first practices of this activity were exclusive to the priestesses of the time.

However, as the years passed, tattoos already meant something else. For example, for the Japanese the interest they had in this practice was purely artistic, since they even had tattoo masters.

They were known as the Hori, who were considered experts in the use of colors, perspective and imagination, which made tattoos an activity to decorate the body.

But it was not always like this in Japan, since long before these colored marks on the skin meant something negative. The ancient Japanese used needles and ink to mark criminals in their locality.

Later, during world war II, the Jews had to suffer the abuses of the Nazis, who tattooed them with numbers to count them as objects and thus, to be able to identify and humiliate them, since the Jewish belief did not allow marks of any kind on the body.


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