Ancient Egyptian mummies, incl. Ramses II and Tuktanhamun’s great grandmother, with blond or red hair

On June 14, 2019, the UK’s Channel 5 aired the first episode of the documentary, The Nile: Egypt’s Great River, presented by British historian Bettany Hughes.

The episode showed a team of Egyptologists at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo carefully lifting the lid from the tomb of Tjuyu, an Egyptian noblewoman who died in 1375 BC. She is believed to be the grandmother of Nefertiti and the great-grandmother of pharaoh Tutankhamun; her tomb was discovered in 1905.

A Daily Star article describes Tjuyu’s mummified body as “incredibly-well preserved”. In the Channel 5 documentary, Egyptologist Salima Ikram pointed out that Tjuyu’s body was so intact that it was even possible to see the sandals she was wearing while being mummified.

What is even more interesting about the Tjuyu mummy is that she had strawberry-blonde wavy hair and non-negroid features. Ikram said it is unclear how her hair got to be this color, and that “We’re not 100% sure” if that is her original hair.

But Tjuyu isn’t the only ancient Egyptian mummy with blond or red hair.

The mummy of Ramsses II also has ginger-blond wavy hair and non-negroid facial features. Ramsses II, aka Ramsses the Great and Ozymandias, reigned 1279–1213 BC as the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and is believed to be the pharoah of the Moses-led Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.

Blond-red wavy hair had also been found on the mummies of non-royal ancient Egyptians, like this one.

In 2014, Brigham Young University archeologists excavated an enormous cemetery in Fag el-Gamous necropolis along the eastern edge of the Fayum depression near Seila in Egypt. Dating to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire controlled Egypt, from the 1st to the 7th century AD, the cemetery is believed to contain over one million burials, among which are blond and redheaded mummies. (Ancient Origins)

A reason offered for the color of hair is that the hair had been bleached by a mineral called natron in the mummification process. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Natron is a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. Natron was used to dry and preserve fish and meat, bleach clothing, make leather, as an ancient household insecticide, and during mummification ceremonies in ancient Egypt because it absorbs water and behaves as a drying agent.

But Dr. Janet Davey from Australia’s Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine believes some ancient Egyptians were naturally blond- and red-haired. To test her hypothesis, Dr. Davey conducted an experiment. She covered 16 Egyptian hair samples with natron for 40 days, but none of the hair changed in color.

Dr. Davey maintains there were fair-haired ancient Egyptians, especially during the Greco-Roman period (332BC to 395 AD), but that finding fair-haired mummies is “very rare” and this is why some Egyptologists believe the lighter hair color was created during the mummification process.

H/t Ancient Origins

~Eowyn

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greenworxx
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greenworxx

Fascinating! Thank you!

TrailDust
Editor

That is extremely interesting, and gives rise to questioning our assumptions about the nature of ancient civilizations.

William
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William

The ancient Egyptians were a Mediterranean race, blond and red-headed mummies are actually fairly common. The sub-Saharan people, who they called Nubians, were imported as slave laborers. The only time that Egyptians were predominantly negroid was during the Nubian Conquest, a short period of about 75 years, long after the apex of ancient Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians intermarried with the Nubians and micegenated themselves out of existence

William
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William

Describing ancient Egypt as an example of an “African” civilization is the worst kind of revisionism. American blacks have embraced it of course – we wuz the ‘gyptians, we invented pyramids ‘n sh*t. There were no African civilizations. They never even invented the wheel, never built so much as one enduring city. There is some evidence that they invented duct tape however which would stand as their singular contribution (sarc)

Kevin Lankford
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Kevin Lankford

All this has been known for much longer than they will admit. I know I have read about this fact over ten years ago on different sites of the internet. Just like many other facts of history (and current events) they hide for effect.

Never trust with out question the narratives of history (or current events) they freely offer.

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

Thank you Dr Eowyn for this fabulous article. It is more than interesting.

DCG
Editor

Fascinating stuff!

GRIZZ
Guest
GRIZZ

Al sharpton last seen changing his wig to strawberry blonde

William
Member
William

In the interest of fairness, Africans aren’t the only people who never built cities. The Irish never did until they were invaded by the Vikings who established Dublin I believe. Africans have some exemplary traits from my experience. For instance when they get Jesus they don’t mess around. Their faith is at times incendiary. Us Boring White Folks could use a little of that sometimes 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcqEnyKkkWo

Eloise Laws is in there somewhere. Righteous

Mad Celt
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Mad Celt

But theyvwuz kangs!

Lophatt
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Lophatt

My understanding is that this was always the case. Africans, particularly in North Eastern Africa were fair. “Aryan” if you will. Certainly during the mid to late Roman Empire this area was virtually the seat of human knowledge. St. Augustine was educated in Carthage and he most definitely was not negro. I think there is a further divide. There are dark-skinned races who are NOT negroid. The Ethiopians being a good example and Somalis as well (provide they aren’t too interbred). These people have dark skin but delicate features. Some of the same is seen in India. From ancient writings… Read more »

Alma
Member
Alma

Genetics play a big part in the components of human beings, as is in the animal world, even in identical twins there may exist somewhere a hidden element that separates them from one another. Egyptians could have been light or dark, thin hair or coarse, the region too plays a part, no doubt they were beautiful people.

CalGirl
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CalGirl

Well, the genes for red hair came from somewhere, and since supposely, Africa is the cradle of life, then why not? Found recently tall red-headed mummies buried in the Gobi Desert (naturally mummified by desert dryness…not by human processes). Since I am a redhead,as was my mom, as is my only grandchild (in fact, the government enlistment papers for my 3x greatgrandfather in the Civil War describe him as a “blue-eyed, auburn-haired” enlistee)….I’ve done a little research on it: it is one of the rarest of hair colors on Earth…something like only 4% of the world’s population either have the… Read more »

chemtrailssuck
Guest

Wow, we all came from Scotland! Cool! (just kidding!)
Sorry but Oprah is wrong.