Way back when…

Seen as my project is based around tattoos and the stories behind them I thought it was fitting for me to go back to the start and get a quick history lesson on where tattoos came from!


I came across this video from TED-Ed called The History of Tattoos and it goes through tattoo history from the very start which was over 8,000 years ago. It was interesting to see that different cultures had different forms of tattoos and it also gave us an insight as to possible health treatments they may have used such as tattooing used for acupuncture treatment. There is also evidence of women getting tattoos to symbolise their sexuality and fertility.

There is no one country of origin for tattoos but we call them “tattoos” because it developed from the word Tatau, a Polynesian word used in Tahiti which is where English Captain, James Cooke, encountered many people covered in tattoos. His crew then arrived back home with tattoos of their own it sparked a craze within the English victorian high society but many people frowned upon tattoos, similar to now and so, a lot of them had hidden tattoos.

From my point of view and linking back to my project with people having tattoos that tell a story also date back to history when a sailor would get an anchor tattoo symbolising crossing the atlantic or a tattoo of a turtle if you had been south of the equator.


Tattoos weren’t always done by choice, the prisoners of Auschwitz concentration came were tattoo with their prisoner number on them. There are many people that have a family member that were victim to this and they have their family members prisoner number tattooed on them as a mark of respect and acknowledgment of the struggles they went through.

I found it quiet interesting to watch this video as I think it has helped me on my way to becoming an “expert” this part of my project.

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