The desire to alter and adorn the human body is universal. While specific forms of body decoration, and the underlying motivations, vary according to region, culture, and era, all human societies have engaged in practices designed to augment and enhance their natural appearance. Tattooing, the process of inserting pigment into the skin to create permanent designs and patterns, appears on human mummies by 3200 BCE and was practiced by ancient cultures throughout the world.
Ancient Ink, the first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new research from across the globe examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art. It contributes to our understanding of the antiquity, durability, and significance of tattooing and human body decoration and illuminates how different societies have used their skin to construct their identities. Ancient Ink connects ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists.