Why People Get Tattoos

Longreads

OK, changing the subject a little: Tattooing has been around for thousands of years, we’re even finding early humans with tattoos. Do you think there is something inherent to human nature that makes us want to tattoo ourselves?
Sure. The cadaver that was found frozen and preserved in the Alps, which I think is about 5,000 years old—he’s in a museum in Italy, you can drop by and say hello—the latest research shows that his body has quite a few tattoos on his skin. They tend to be abstract designs. Based on their locations, it’s been hypothesized that they were there to distract from uncomfortable physical things like arthritis. Or possibly, that they have some kind of magical significance. If you think about it, from a certain point of view, as all of our behavior tends to be very magical in some ways. Imagine that there’s some special power in…

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