A Quick History of Body Piercing

Body piercing has become very popular of late, but this is certainly not a trend that is new to humanity. As a matter of fact, body piercing has a very long and celebrated history throughout Mankind’s proliferation on this planet.  That in mind, lets take a look at different types of Adrenaline piercing and how it shows up in the timeline of humanity.


Ear piercing has been a common ritualistic practice around the world since even ancient times.  There is a great amount of literature we have discovered which describes archaeological evidence of this practice.  As a matter of fact, archaeologists have discovered mummified bodies with ear piercings still in place; this includes a the oldest mummified body ever analyzed: 5,300-year old Otzi the Iceman, who was found in a glacier in Italy, and who had piercings 7-11 mm in diameter. Furthermore, the oldest ear piercings found in a grave date back to 2500 BCE, in the Sumeria city of Ur.  There are also several mentions of earrings in the Bible and in Hindu texts as well.

In some tribes of the Pacific Northwest (and perhaps among other regions, too), earrings were actually a sign of wealth and nobility.  This is because earrings placed on a child must have been purchased at an expensive potlatch gathering.  Earrings were also common to Egypt in the 18th dynasty (c 1550 -1292 BCE) while the ancient Greeks wore them often as homage to the gods.


Nose piercing might have roots dated as far back as 1500 BCE, when the Vedas (ancient Sanskrit religious texts) refer to Lakshmi’s nose piercing.  Of course, this makes some sense since nose piercings have long been a common tradition in India.  While it may have started there, it seems the tradition spread outward from the Middle East by nomadic tribes.

Today, nose piercings are popular all over the world but they definitely remain a cultural tradition in India.  For example, it is still customary for women of child bearing age to wear a nose piercing, typically in the left nostril as this is in reference to the female reproductive origins.

We also see mention of a nose ring in the first book of the Bible (Genesis).  It shows up again in narratives from the Middle East, Africa, Native American, and even Australian aboriginal tribes.


Piercing of the lip and tongue predominate mostly African tribes, though you can also find it in American historical texts.  This is particularly true of the native tribes of central America—the Aztecs and Mayans—who wore labrets, much like tribes of the Amazon basin.

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