The world’s oldest-known tattoo kit has been discovered and it includes tools made from human bones, scientists have confirmed.
Multi-pronged tattoo combs that look similar to some modern tattoo artists’ tools were found in Tonga, in the Southern Pacific Ocean.
The kit dates back 2,700 years and pushes the dawn of human tattooing to the start of the Polynesian culture.
It could help answer the question of whether tattooing was imported from other cultures, or was native to Oceania.
… The world’s oldest-known tattooist’s kit has tools (pictured) made from human bones, scientists have confirmed. The kit has been confirmed to be 2,700 years old by carbon dating. It is the first time that tattoo tools have been ‘minutely’ examined by a research project The world’s oldest-known tattooist’s kit has tools (pictured) made from human bones, scientists have confirmed. The kit has been confirmed to be 2,700 years old by carbon dating. It is the first time that tattoo tools have been ‘minutely’ examined by a research project
The research, headed by Griffith University in Australia, was the first to ‘minutely’ study and date the kit using radiocarbon techniques.
All four of the tattooing tools are made from bone – two from a large seabird and two from large mammals.
Professor Geoffrey Clark, from The Australian National University (ANU) School of Culture, History & Language, who worked on the project, said: ‘As there were no other mammals of that size on the island at the time, and human bone is known to be a preferred material for making tattooing combs, we believe they are most likely made from human bone.’
Dr Michelle Langley, from Griffith’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, worked with Professor Clark, added: ‘The discovery of early tattooing implements is exceptionally rare.’So, to find an entire kit is phenomenal. We very rarely find a whole kit of any type of tools in the archaeological record.’These artefacts show that the modern tattooist toolkit – one-piece narrow combs, haft, mallet, carbon […]