For most of us, when we think of hair extensions, we immediately assume that they are a modern phenomenon. However, the discovery of a 3,300-year-old body with an elaborate hairstyle consisting of 70 hair extensions, buts that assumption into disrepute.
The discovered body was simply wrapped in a mat instead of the traditional mummification of Egyptian times. Her hair was a complex style with the hair extensions attached in different layers and at different heights on her head.
Researchers have been unable to uncover details such as her name, age, or occupation. However, she was only one of hundreds of other bodies found in a cemetery near the ancient town of Amarna. Many of the other bodies discovered also had intact and elaborate hairstyles. If you want the modern day look Beautifeyes can help you.
A Pharaoh called Akhenaten built Amarna; he intended it to be the new capital of Egypt. Akhenaten ordered that the city be built in a desert. This was because the Aten, a deity shaped as a sun disk, assumed supremacy in his religious revolution. Shortly after the pharaoh died, the newly built city was abandoned. Today, an organisation called the Amarna Trust is supporting Archaeologists who are investigating the ancient city. Part of this investigation involves discoveries as to what the ancient people of Amarna wore.
Jolanda Bos is one of the archaeologists working on the site, and she is puzzled by the discovery of the woman with 70 hair extensions. One of the main questions Bos wants to be answered is whether or not this hairstyle was chosen of her burial only or whether the woman wore her hair like this day-to-day during her life. She suggests that in this particular case the hair was styled after death, but she also believes that woman in Amarna would have also used hair extensions in their daily lives. As the leading researcher on hairstyles, Bos analysed many skulls that also had extensions. She discovered one skull in particular that had extensions consisting of different hair types and colours; this suggests that the hair used to create the extensions was donated by some different people.
Out of 100 Skulls recently excavated from the ancient city, 28 of them still had hair. This hair consisted of a wide variety of types and styles, from curly black hair to straight brown hair. This might be reflective of the high degree of ethic variation that once lived in this city. It also seems that the people of Amarna were extremely fond of braiding their hair. They also seem to have preferred to keep their hair at shoulder length. All the hairstyles discovered were created with the help of fat to keep them intact after death; it is not yet known whether or not the fat used was from animals. Each skull was also discovered with a piece of textile, which suggests that part of the head was covered.
Some of the skulls had hair that appeared to have been dyed with henna. Most likely, the woman of ancient Egypt died their hair for the same reason as women today, to cover up grey hairs.