Even the Ancient Egyptians Loved Their Hair Extensions

Illustration for article titled Even the Ancient Egyptians Loved Their Hair Extensions

Ancients: They're just like us! Archeologists have discovered the remains of an Egyptian woman from around the time of 1335 B.C. whose hair was styled with more than 70 extensions. No word whether her hairdresser took her secret to the grave.


LiveScience reported on the finding, the work of archeologists on the Amarna Project, a big dig at the site of a capital city built three-thousand-plus years ago by Pharaoh Akhenaten (which was promptly abandoned once he'd kicked the bucket). The woman (who wasn't mummified) was found wearing "a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head."

They've found several other bodies at the site with hairstyles intact; archeologist Jolanda Bos said braids were a popular look and styles were held together with animal fat. Most kept their hair approximately shoulder-length. She found skulls with brown hair often wore coils around their ears, though she's not sure why.


The question is whether the elaborate hairstyle was a regular 'do, or something arranged especially for this woman's debut in the afterlife:

"Whether or not the woman had her hair styled like this for her burial only is one of our main research questions," said Bos in an email to LiveScience. "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."

Apropos of nothing, this is a great opportunity to link to my all-time favorite Wall Street Journal article, about a Baltimore hairdresser who specializes in recreating ancient Roman hairstyles. She is a hairdo archeologist and also a hero.

Update your Pinterest boards accordingly, America.

Photo via AP Images.

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The ancient Egyptians, at least the wealthy and royal ones, commonly shaved their body hair off, mostly to get rid of lice. They had wigs because they didn't want to be bald. The men even wore fake facial hair.

Something most people forget is that ancient Egyptians were black (Egypt was originally called Kemet during the beginning of the Old Kingdom which meant "Land of the Blacks" or "Black Land" in Greek) and they used the same kind of hair braiding techniques used in other parts of Africa for thousands of years. I wish I could find it, I once saw an academic website postulating some of the wig styles the Egyptians used trickling down and becoming some of the braiding styles used today.