How Were Tattoos Done in Ancient Times?

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years and have been used for various purposes throughout history. In ancient times, tattoos were done in a much different way than they are today. Let’s take a look at how tattoos were done in ancient times.

The History of Tattoos

Tattoos have been found on mummies that date back to 3300 BC in Egypt. They were also used by the Polynesians, who used tattoos to signify their status and rank within their tribe. The Greeks and Romans also used tattoos, but they were often associated with criminals and slaves.

Tools Used in Ancient Times

In ancient times, tattoos were done with crude tools such as bones, sticks, or thorns. These tools were dipped into ink made from natural materials such as soot or charcoal mixed with water or oil.

Techniques Used

The process of getting a tattoo in ancient times was much more painful than it is today. The artist would use the tool to puncture the skin and then rub the ink into the wound. This process was repeated until the desired design was complete.

Purpose of Tattoos

Tattoos had various purposes in ancient times. In some cultures, they were used to signify rank or status within a tribe or community.

Other cultures used tattoos for spiritual or religious purposes. Some even believed that tattoos had magical powers that could protect them from evil spirits.

Tattoos Today

Today, tattoos are done with modern equipment such as tattoo machines that use needles to inject ink into the skin. The ink used is also much safer and more vibrant than it was in ancient times.

The Future of Tattoos

As technology advances, so do the tools and techniques used for tattooing. There are even talks of using nanotechnology to create “smart” tattoos that can monitor health or serve as a form of identification.


Tattoos have come a long way since ancient times. While the tools and techniques may have been crude, the significance and meaning behind tattoos have remained constant. Whether you’re getting a tattoo for personal expression or cultural significance, it’s important to understand the history and tradition behind this ancient art form.