The Independent wrote:World's oldest tattoo art found on Egyptian mummy that has been in British Museum for 100 years
Previously, all that academics and museum visitors alike had been able to see were faint, dark smudges on the man’s right arm. But recent infrared examination has revealed the marks are in fact tattoos depicting two animals – a giant wild bull and a wild North African goat-like creature.
It is likely the man wore his tattoos in order to help project an image of strength and macho virility. Throughout much of the ancient world, both types of animal were often associated with male power, virility, fertility and creation.
The two animals were tattooed onto the man’s arm some 5,200 years ago. Along with a Copper Age European of almost identical vintage, found preserved in an Alpine glacier, the ancient Egyptian is the oldest tattooed individual ever discovered.
However, the Alpine mummy – often dubbed the Iceman – only had seemingly abstract groups of dots tattooed on him. The Egyptian, on the other hand, bears the earliest known example of tattoos in figurative art form.
Examination of the art suggests they were made with a carbon-based pigment, probably soot.
The bull portrayed in the larger of the man’s two tattoos represented a now-extinct species of giant wild bull, known as the aurochs. They were feared, admired and often worshipped throughout parts of the ancient world.