Ötzi the 5,300-Year-Old Iceman has 61 Tattoos. Researchers have mapped all 61 tattoos of Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old glacier mummy discovered by hikers in the Ötztal Alps near the Italian-Austrian border in 1991. Previous studies have already detected fifty or so tattoos, but because they’re difficult to spot—since his skin has darkened over time—researchers haven’t agreed on the final count. Now, an Italian team led by Marco Samadelli of EURAC Research has turned to a non-invasive imaging technique, borrowed from the art world, that can capture light at different wavelengths, ranging from infrared to the ultraviolet.
Their technique revealed never-before-seen tattoos. The 45-year-old male’s 61 tattoos, some of the world’s most ancient examples, take on the form of crosses (or plus signs) and groupings of parallel lines that look like tallies of two to four. They’re all black, and some were as long as four centimeters. A few years ago, researchers sequenced Ötzi’s genome and found that he had O-type blood and was lactose intolerant. 13,500-Year-Old Tool-Making Site Uncovered in Idaho Forest. On a remote forest riverbank in northern Idaho, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of human occupation going back more than 13,500 years, adding to the signs of an increasingly ancient human presence in the Northwest, and fueling the debate about how the region’s earliest settlers got there.
The oldest evidence, found in test pits dug along the North Fork of the Clearwater River, includes a blade-like tool fashioned from a rock cobble and dozens of flakes left over from the tool-making process, known as debitage. The artifacts were found in a layer of soil with charcoal that was radiocarbon dated to 13,740 to 13,490 calendar years ago. Perhaps more important, a few layers above those ancient finds, researchers found 19 detailed and distinctive stone points, fashioned in what’s known as the Western Stemmed Tradition. [Read about the latest research from Paisley Caves: "Ancient Feces From Oregon Cave Aren’t Human, Study Says, Adding to Debate on First Americans"] Ancient humans understood medicine and insecticides over 77,000 years ago.