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Nappy Hair on the Ancient Egyptians


I get emails all of the time professing the whiteness of ancient Egypt.  Before you write do your homework.  All you have to do is pick up a world history book written by Caucasian authors and use the reading comprehension you were taught in the second and third grades. Egypt was not invaded by Rome until 300 BC.  The Bible was probably written 4000 - 5000 years ago.  Where were the white people in the Old Testament? 


Why change the color of history?


West Africa Magazine

Ancient Egyptian Wig

Royal Ontario Museum


July 8, 2001
Egyptology: Hanging in the Hair
by Anu M'bantu and Fari Supia

The mummies on display in the world's museums exhibit Caucasoid-looking hair in shades that stem from brown to blonde. These mummies include Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao of the 17th dynasty and the 19th dynasty's Rameses II. As one scholar put it: "The most common hair color, then as now, was a very dark brown, almost black color although natural auburn and even rather surprisingly blonde hair are also to be found."


When growing up, my grandmother used to tell me that the one give-a-way of a person trying to "pass" was hair texture.  Even in the magazine articles "back in the day," curly hair was a dead giveaway for African Ancestry. You can tell by microscopic examination of a cross-section of hair to what race that person belongs." 


Trichology is the scientific analysis of hair.  An instrument called a trichometer is used to measure the cross-section of a hair shaft.  From this you can get measurements for the minimum and maximum diameter of a hair. The minimum measurement is then divided by the maximum and then multiplied by a hundred. This produces an index. A survey of the scientific literature produces the following breakdown of the analysis:



San, Southern African  55.00 Western European 71.20
 Zulu, Southern African 55.00 Asian Indian 73.00
Sub-Saharan Africa 60.00 Navajo American 77.00
Tasmanian (Black) 64.70 Chinese 82.60
Australian (Black) 68.00 Ancient Egyptians 35 to 65


In the early 1970s, the Czech anthropologist Eugen Strouhal examined pre-dynastic Egyptian skulls at Cambridge University. He sent some samples of the hair to the Institute of Anthropology at Charles University, Prague, to be analyzed. The hair samples were described as varying in texture from "wavy" to "curly" and in colour from "light brown" to "black".  Strouhal summarized the results of the analysis:

"The outline of the cross-sections of the hairs was flattened, with indices ranging from 35 to 65. These peculiarities also show the Negroid inference among the Badarians (pre-dynastic Egyptians)." The term "Negroid influence" suggests intermixture, but as the table suggests this hair is more "Negroid" than the San and the Zulu samples, currently the most Negroid hair in existence!

In another study, hair samples from ten 18th-25th dynasty individuals produced an average index of 51! As far back as 1877, Dr. Pruner-Bey analyzed six ancient Egyptian hair samples. Their average index of 64.4 was similar to the Tasmanians who lie at the periphery of the African-haired populations(1).


A team of Italian anthropologists published their research in the Journal of Human Evolution in 1972 and 1980. They measured two samples consisting of 26 individuals from pre-dynastic, 12th dynasty and 18th dynasty mummies. They produced a mean index of 66.50.  The overall average of all four sets of ancient Egyptian hair samples was 60.02. Sounds familiar . . ., just check the table!

Since microscopic analysis shows ancient Egyptian hair to be completely African, why does the hair look Caucasoid? Research has given us the answers. Hair is made of keratin protein. Keratin is composed of amino acid chains called polypeptides. In a hair, two such chains are called cross-chain polypeptides. These are held together by disulphide bonds. The bulk of the hair, the source of its strength and curl, is called the cortex. The hair shafts are made of a protective outer layer called the cuticle.


We are informed by Afro Hair - A Salon Book, that chemicals for bleaching, penning and straightening hair must reach the cortex to be effective. For hair to be permed or straightened the disulphide bonds in the cortex must be broken. The anthropologist Daniel Hardy writing in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, tells us that keratin is stable owing to disulphide bonds. However, when hair is exposed to harsh conditions it can lead to oxidation of protein molecules in the cortex, which leads to the alteration of hair texture, such as straightening.


Two British anthropologists, Brothwell and Spearman, have found evidence of cortex keratin oxidation in ancient Egyptian hair. They held that the mummification process was responsible, because of the strong alkaline substance used. This resulted in the yellowing and browning of hair as well as the straightening effect.

This means that visual appearance of the hair on mummies cannot disguise their racial affinities. The presence of blonde and brown hair on ancient Egyptian mummies has nothing to do with their racial identity and everything to do with mummification and the passage of time. As the studies have shown, when you put the evidence under a microscope the truth comes out. At last, Egyptology's prayers have been answered. It has been put out of its misery.

Its tombstone reads Egyptology, R.I.P June 2001.


Egyptian wig and wig-box found in an Egyptian tomb
Image ID:  825265

Ancient Egyptian wig is made of human hair attached to a net.

18th Dynasty Egypt (The Same Dynasty of Moses & Abraham)

Printed on border: "The above is a photograph of an Egyptian wig for a lady, in the style of the 18th dynasty, B.C. 1400, and also a wig-box made of kash or writing reeds, discovered in a tomb at Thebes. The excellent state of preservation in which these two objects were found is wonderful." (New York Public Library). 

Archaeological Hair:

The common misconception that all hair turns red over archaeological timescales has found its way into archaeological folklore. Whilst certain environments such as those producing bog bodies are known to yield hair of a red-brown color, in part because of the breakdown of organic matter and presence of humic acids which impart a brown color to recovered remains, it has commonly been assumed that this happens to all archaeological hair. This concept has been perpetuated by popular nicknames such as "Ginger"--affectionately given to the Pre-dynastic burial with red hair on display in the mummy rooms at the British Museum.

(read complete article here)

Hair Coloring in Africa (Henna in Ancient Egypt)

Ahmose-Henttimehu 17th Dynasty (1574 BC): Henttimehu was probably a daughter of Seqnenre-Taa II and Ahmose-Inhapi.

Smith reports that the mummy of Henttimehu own hair had been dyed a bright red at the sides, probably with henna.

Reference: G. Elliott Smith, The Royal Mummies, Duckworth Publishing; (September, 2000)


Nubian Wig


Queen Kiya: Mother

of King Tutankhamun



1334-1325 BC (18th Dynasty, Egypt)

18th Dynasty Egypt (The Same Dynasty of Moses & Abraham)


With one knee on the ground and the other up and forward in a kneeling position. Her arms are raised before her in prayer. She wears a Nubian wig often seen on Amarna's royal women.

Image and text from the book Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, by Zahi Hawass, National Geographic, 2005.



Source:  http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/hair2.html