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The Tattoos

The Iceman’s body is covered with over 50 tattoos in the form of groups of lines and crosses.

Unlike modern tattooing methods, the tattoos were not produced with needles but by means of fine incisions into which charcoal was rubbed.Interestingly, Ötzi’s tattoos are located at points where his body was subjected to considerable strain during his lifetime and very probably caused him a lot of pain due to wear.

The tattoos were therefore probably intended as therapeutic measures rather than as symbols.

One or several groups of vertical lines are located to the left and right of the spinal column, on the left calf, on the right instep and on the inner and outer ankle joint. Two lines cross the left wrist. A cross-shaped mark appears on the back of the right knee and beside the left Achilles tendon.

The Iceman had therefore undergone pain-relieving treatment on multiple occasions.

Astonishingly, the tattooed areas correspond to skin acupuncture lines. Before Ötzi it was thought that this treatment had only originated two thousand years later in Asia.