Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ötzi, Tattoos, Acupuncture, and Things We Don't Know

"Ötzi, the Iceman"
Concord Learning Systems (undated, with updates March 20, 2002 and August, 2003)

"Killed c. 3300 B.C. in mountain region of Austria / Italy

"On September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy, hikers stumbled upon the corpse of a 5,300 year-old man. Dubbed 'Ötzi,' this perfectly preserved iceman is the oldest human ever found. But who was he and how did he die?..."

Quite good article on a man who died about five and a third millenia ago, in what is now Austria. As usual, the more we know, the more we learn that there are things we don't know. Yet.

Take acupuncture: as is well known (or was, pre-Ötzi), acupuncture was invented in China two or three millennia back.

Ötzi has tattoos. 59 of them. Quite a few of them on or near currently-used acupuncture points.

Since Ötzi died a couple millennia before acupuncture was developed in China, either the positions of those tattoos are pure coincidence, something's not known about China's history, acupuncture developed west of China, or maybe something else is going on.

My guess: the tattoos are where they are for a reason, and we don't know everything about the history of medical practices and technology.
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