Archaeologists Uncover Worlds Oldest Human Bone Tattooing Kit

first_img Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target Archaeologists just revealed the world’s oldest known human bone tattooing kit, and it might give important clues on the history of Polynesian body art.The kit was found on the Pacific island nation of Tonga, according to an Australian National University press release. Australian researchers studied the tattooing kit and published their findings in The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the tools were approximately 2,700 years old. This set, which was originally discovered in 1963, was most likely documented, however, its paperwork is missing, making it the oldest complete tattooing kit to be discovered worldwide.Geoffrey Clark of Australian National University and and Dr. Michelle Langley of Griffith University analyzed the ancient instruments in the kit, and found that two were made of bird bone and the other two tools were “probably” made of human bone.“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. Langley said in the press release.Geoffrey Clark of the Australian National University holds a bone comb from a tattooing kit that’s approximately 2,700 years old. (Photo Credit: Jack Fox/Australian National University)Dubbed “bone combs,” the tools look like hair combs with grooved edges, and they were sharp enough to drive pigment into the skin, NPR noted. Back in the day, the kit also probably contained a haft, a mallet, carbon pigment, a mortar, a pestle, and an ink-holding vessel.Traces of manufacture and use on the Tongatapu tattooing combs. (Photo Credit: Ancient Tattooing in Polynesia/’The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology’)What’s interesting about these tools is that they provide more details on where Polynesian-style tattooing might have first developed, and the bone tattoo combs represent the type of body artwork that could have existed in Oceania many years ago. It’s likely that the tattoo kit belonged to one artist, who might have accidentally left it behind or gave up on repairing it.“The question has always been were these tools introduced to the Pacific through migration, or were they developed in Polynesia where we know tattooing has a very prominent role in society and spread from there,” Clark said in the press release. “This discovery pushes back the date of Polynesian tattooing right back to the beginnings of Polynesian cultures around 2,700 years ago.”These type of tools haven’t changed much in roughly 3,000 years, since traditional tattooing equipment still used in the Pacific resembles ancient instruments.“The actual tool itself – the comb shape and the way it’s used – hasn’t changed much, and that’s why this find is so interesting,” Langley added. “These ancient tools continue to be used today.”More on Geek.com:This Cactus Spine Needle Is the Oldest Tattoo Tool in Western North AmericaGoogle 3D Prints Ancient Artifacts for Digital DisplayFamous Einstein ‘Puzzle’ Solved After Missing Page Found in Trovelast_img

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