1,000-year-old Andean tattoos reveal ancient acupuncture techniques

Washington, Oct 4 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has discovered tattoos on a 1,000-year-old Andean woman that reveals the practice of acupuncture.

Maria Anna Pabst of Austria's Medical University of Graz and her colleagues "describe tattoos from two body areas of a mummy from Chiribaya Alta in Southern Peru."

According to Usatoday.com, 12 overlapping circles tattooed on the woman's neck resemble "therapeutic" tattoo spots corresponding to acupuncture points used to relieve neck pain.

She bore tattooed animals like "birds, apes, and reptiles in addition to symbols."

Rings were tattooed on four of the fingers with soot.

They show a thin pencil moustache tattooed on the upper lip of a male adult. One of the most impressive sets of decorative tattoos was found on the skin of a Skythian nomad prince from the Altai mountain (500 B.C.).

Aesthetically designed pictures of mythical creatures were tattooed on his arms, shoulders, chest, back and the right leg.

But not only men were tattooed in ancient times: an obviously upper class female mummy was excavated in the Altay.

The team assumed local problems of the upper spine or headaches as possible reasons for treatment by the tattooing.

In contrast with the soot used in the decorative parts of the tattoos, partially pyrolyzed plant material, probably burned herbs, was used for the therapeutic neck tattoos.

The find is described in the current Journal of Archaeological Science. (ANI)

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