Ancient hair extensions found on 3,300 year-old Egyptian woman

Ancient hair extensions found on 3,300 year-old Egyptian woman

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

3,300 years ago, an Egyptian woman died and was buried. Her body was found only wrapped in a mat, and not mummified, like some other bodies found in the same location were, but the archaeologists who found her remains were more impressed by her ancient hair extensions.

Jolanda Bos from the Armana Project, in an article from the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, refers to them as, “very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head.”

Researchers don’t know very much about her. They have no idea about the woman’s name, age or occupation. However, she is one of the many hundreds of people whose hairstyles are still untouched. They were all buried in the same cemetery situated near the ancient city that is now named Amarna.

Amarna was built by Akhenaten (reign ca. 1353-1335 B.C.) to be the new capital for Egypt. Akhenaten was a pharaoh who started a religious revolution for Aten, a sun disk-shaped deity. This religious movement almost assumed supremacy in the Egyptians’ spiritual life, but soon after Akhenaten’s death, the city of Amarna was abandoned. Now archaeologists, backed by the Amarna Trust, are studying the ancient remains of the city.

Conducting this particular research, Bos is puzzled at the woman’s 70 hair extensions. This is what she says in an email sent to LiveScience:

Whether or not the woman had her hair styled like this for her burial only is one of our main research questions. The hair was most likely styled after death, before a person was buried. It is also likely, however, that these hairstyles were used in everyday life as well and that the people in Amarna used hair extensions in their daily life.

Some of the hairstyles the team found were created with fat. This would have kept the hair intact after burial. The body of another woman had orange-red colored hair. The scientists assume she dyed her graying locks with henna.