Repository logo
 

Ink is Forever: The Archaeological Impermanence and Cultural Permanence of Tattooing


Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Daly, Leanne M. 

Abstract

The Archaeology-Heritage Divide consists of divisions that are derived from the dichotomy of tangible versus intangible cultural heritage. Archaeology is seen as the material beginning of human history, yet heritage not only fills gaps in the archaeological record but continues where archaeology leaves off. This continuum between archaeology and heritage is exemplified in tattooing. Tattooing generally presents the unique inversion of permanence (conventionally characteristic of archaeology and material culture) and impermanence (conventionally characteristic of heritage). Tattooing is perceived as a culturally permanent marking of the skin but is archaeologically impermanent due to the transience of human bodies and the process itself. This inversion exposes how nothing ever really belongs on one side of the Divide. These divisions are simply pragmatic constructs allowing scholars to isolate and make sense of certain data. In actuality, there is an interdependence between the disciplines, and it is impossible to truly extricate one from the other.

Description

Keywords

tattooing, impermanence, cultural permanence, tangible and intangible heritage

Journal Title

Rethinking the Archaeology–Heritage Divide

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0261-4332

Volume Title

37

Publisher

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL