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Les tatouages d'Ötzi et la petite chirurgie traditionnelle

Abstract : This paper takes a new look at the case of the tattoos worn by Ötzi, a late Neolithic man discovered in 1991 in a small glacier of the Southeast Alps, near the Italo-Austrian border. The Austrian and Italian teams have already advanced several hypotheses. The main one, which suggests that Ötzi was tattooed for therapeutic purposes, is not contested. Others, however, can be briefly invalidated (the "tibetan cauterization" alleged by L. Capasso), while still others call for more in-depth discussion (the Austrian team's attempt to establish a link between the location of Ötzi's tattoos and the topography of acupuncture-points). Questionable hypotheses as these result from a lack of knowledge about the ancient treatments using minor surgery. The aim of this paper is thus to assemble available ethnographical and historical data about therapeutic puncturing, tattooing and cauterization. Even though such material postdates Ötzi's era, it constitutes an essential prerequisite to the formulation of any hypothesis about protohistorical therapeutic concepts and practices.
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Luc Renaut. Les tatouages d'Ötzi et la petite chirurgie traditionnelle. L'anthropologie, Elsevier Masson, 2004, 108 (1), pp. 69-105. ⟨10.1016/j.anthro.2003.12.002⟩. ⟨halshs-00575652⟩

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