Body piercing is a vary ancient practice of body modification. Archaeologists have seriously studied body piercing and have found that early records rarely discuss the use of piercings or their meanings, But, there are early records of piercings as a practice.

Those who study ancient bodies can even see where flesh deterioration marks where a piercing may have been, but the deterioration is generally too much to pinpoint where the jewelry was adorned and used.

Although, there may not be historical documents from the earliest seen piercings, there are some evidence and documentation of reasons behind body piercing practices.

For early Egyptians, piercings were a sign of beauty and love. There are Egyptian mummies dating over 5,000 years that have signs of body piercings. Egyptians used body piercings to show status. Worthy gentleman had pierced ears with larger-gauge plugs in his ears, and only the Pharoah could have his navel pierced.

In the Old Testament body jewelry was considered a mark of beauty and wealth, especially for Bedouin and nomadic tribes. In some cases, piercings may have been given as a bridal gift or dowry.

The Romans used piercings for practical purposes. Roman centurions pierced their nipples to signify strength and virility, and as a badge of honor to signify dedication to the Roman Empire. Gladiators who were slaves had genital piercings through the head of the penis for two reasons – 1)the piercing could be used to tie the organ back to the testicles with a strap of leather to prevent serious injury during combat and 2) with a large enough ring or bar, it could prevent the slave from having sex without his owner’s consent.

Mayan, Aztecs, and some American Indians practiced tongue piercings as a form of religious ceremony to bring them closer to their gods through harmless blood shed. The Mayans and Aztec warriors practiced septum piercings to appear fiercer to their enemies in combat.

Tribes in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands used piercings to accentuate body features. Tribes in Central and South America, also, used body piercings as an aesthetic form.

Even Prince Albert got a genital piercing in the Victorian times. He used the piercing to tuck himself to the inside of his pant leg to appear neat and trim when wearing tight pants.

Throughout history tribal and civil men and women have sported body piercings, and as a part of the modern world, piercings have maintained their popularity. They may be obtained for a variety of reasons to vary from religious reasons, self-expression, sexual pleasure, conformity, or plain aesthetic value.