Tattooing and piercing were in existence well before the beginning of our recorded history. Fragmentary evidence exists that body modification has existed since 12,000 B.C. The first evidence in recorded history comes from the period of construction of the pyramids of Egypt. From there tattooing and piercing seems to have spread both northwards and eastwards along the trade routes, ultimately arriving in China around 2000 B.C.
Some scientists believe that certain marks on the skin of the Iceman, a mummified human body dating back to 3300 B.C. are tattoos, which could be the earliest evidence of this art. Tattoos found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies date from about 2000 B.C. and classical authors mention the use of tattoos in connection with ancient Greece, Gauls, Thracians and ancient Britons.
Tattooing was re-discovered by Europeans when explorations brought them into contact with Polynesians and American Indians. The word ‘tattoo’ was first mentioned in explorer James Cook’s records from his 1769 expedition to the South Pacific. Because tattoos were considered so exotic in European and US society, tattooed Indians and Polynesians drew huge crowds at circuses and fairs in the 18th and 19th centuries.
this is a copy and paste job...so heres my own input..tattooing was quite common among many native american tribes and indeginous people..I am native american and i have a tattoo on my chin that means "married woman"