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Body Art: Otzi the 5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Had 61 Tattoos

Four thin, black lines, stacked on top of each other, bring the total number of tattoos on Ötzi, a 5,300-year-old mummified iceman, to 61, according to an exhaustive new study.

Finding the new body art, located on the lower side of Ötzi's right ribcage, "was a big surprise because we didn't expect to see a new tattoo," said Albert Zink, the study's senior researcher and head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Research Academy in Italy.

Ötzi's tattoos are no secret: Even the hikers who discovered him in the Italian Alps in 1991 noticed he had markings on his skin. But researchers have disagreed about the number of tattoos on Ötzi’s body for years, and "we decided it would be important to have a clear number of the tattoos" going forward, Zink told Live Science. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman]

Image: The 61 lines that make up the tattoos on Ötzi, a 5,300-year-old iceman
The 61 lines that make up the tattoos on Ötzi, a 5,300-year-old iceman found in the Italian Alps in 1991. Marco Samadelli
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