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Many women these days view their hair
as a kind of accessory with which to play, changing its look, colour and even
length depending on the season, their outfit, and whether they are feeling
casual or sombre, or they’re just in the mood for a different look.
Hairstyles are part of fashion, every bit as important to a woman’s look
as the shoes she wears or the purse she carries.
Nowadays, even women with short hair aren’t prevented from wearing a long,
curly look – they simply add extensions and give their appearance a whole new
Most women today imagine that extensions (and other changes
they can make) are recent innovations, a far cry from their grandmother’s day,
when the only option was a bottle of peroxide, and that was only if they wanted
to look like a bombshell movie star.
Choices in those days, say 75 years ago,
were truly limited, at least when it came to colour.
But as the saying goes, nothing on this earth is really
new. And the ancient Egyptians, a truly advanced and sophisticated group,
proved that repeatedly with everything from burial techniques that preserved
bodies to hairstyles, colours and curls.
What we do now in expensive salons, techniques stylists
imagine are cutting edge, are in fact as much as 3,300 years old, thanks to the
Egyptians. Even extensions, which celebrities like Kim Kardashian tout as
modern and fun, were worn by many women in ancient Egypt, and they were even
buried wearing them, too.
the cemetery at the city of El-Amarna, for example. The cherished
archaeological site, which has been undergoing exploration and excavation since
1977, revealed in 2014 examples of women who, thousands of years ago, wore
intricate updos, extensions and even skull caps.
skull was found six years ago with about 70 hair extensions still attached, and
experts worked to recreate exactly what the Egyptian mummified body would have
looked like when alive – hairdo intact.
ongoing project is done by the Institute of Archaeological Research of
Cambridge University in England, with the support and permission of the
Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt.
hairdos found indicate that women of ancient Egypt favoured complicated styles,
ones that featured a variety of layers and lengths.
Egyptian skulls are so well preserved that archaeologists can get a clear,
comprehensive picture of what trends and colours were fashionable back then.
One skull shows that henna was likely used to cover grey hair on one woman,
thereby giving her a more auburn shade, and probably a more youthful
skulls and remains may be more than 3,000 years old, but the motivations behind
the women’s choices were, it’s fair to say, timeless and still prevalent.
Project continues to pull back the curtain on this ancient
city, which citizens abandoned after the death of the pharaoh who built it.
site consists of several zones, one of which is called Central City, where
administration buildings, temples and palaces were built when the city was
pharaoh, Akhenaten, ruled from approximately 1353 until 1335 B.C. Historians
say his greatest impact on his people was a change to their religion, moving it
more fully to worshipping the sun.
Amarna was in keeping with those beliefs, but once the pharaoh passed away,
citizens felt less compelled to stay in this city in the desert.
Amarna Project continues to reveal much about ancient Egypt, its practices,
religious beliefs and societal norms.
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women with these remarkable hairstyles are just one more piece of the puzzle,
the puzzle that teaches so much about Egypt’s past, but also about its present
and, perhaps, about its future.