The Mystery Of Ancient Egypt’s Red Haired Mummies

What we’re going to be talking about right now is what some people may consider being a controversial subject, but also one worthy of study. Do we really know, genetically speaking, where ancient Egyptians came from?

When we try to imagine what Ancient Egypt may have looked like, some of us immediately picture a civilization populated by citizens with dark skin and dark hair. But was that truly the case?

At the time when graves of mummies were discovered more than a hundred years ago, a general expectation was that the early Egyptians were of Negroid origin. But in our enlightened and technologically-advanced era, where we possess greatly-enhanced capabilities in forensic science, certain mind-blowing archaeological discoveries and evidence have emerged that are not exactly supportive of the seemingly universally known the fact that dynastic Egyptians were exclusive of black African origin.

All shades of hair were found around the time of Ancient Egypt’s civilization – from brown to blonde, and even auburn and red. Today, these hair colors are found among the people of North Europe and North America and are indicative of Caucasian origins.

Does this mean there were fair-skinned, blonde or red-haired ancient Egyptians prior and during Egypt’s dynastic periods?



There is a theory suggesting that before 2000 BC, Egyptians were of Caucasoid-European ethnicity. This is supported by the physical anthropology of the oldest mummies that have been found, the busts and statues of several pharaohs and their wives, the colored wall paintings discovered, and the descriptions provided in historical accounts.

As early as 5000 BC, the majority of the Caucasoid-European occupants of Egypt were believed to have begun abandoning the increasingly warm country and headed to the cooler climates of Europe. Then, after about 1500 BC, the population in the area became increasingly mixed with the Nubians from the South of Egypt, which explains the typical physical appearance and genetic makeup of modern-day Egyptians.

This theory strongly refutes the ideas of Afrocentrism with the presentation of several archaeological, anthropological and forensic evidence, three of which I am about to discuss with you now.


One of the most famous cases of mummies of Ancient Egypt that had red or blonde hair is one of the Gebelein pre-dynastic mummies which is housed in the British Museum. Commonly referred to by curators and the public as “Ginger,” this ancestor from ancient Egypt died more than five thousand years ago,

in the Late Pre-dynastic period, around 3400 BC or earlier. His mummified body was found in a cemetery at Gebelein, Egypt, with his toe and finger nails perfectly preserved. He was given the nickname of “Ginger” because of his golden curly hair, which interestingly, looks similar to the curly locks often seen on Greek and Roman sculptures.

And although his body is stained from being buried in the sand for more than 5,000 years, this Egyptian ancestor looked like he once had yellowish-white skin.

Another illustration may be seen from the elaborate tomb of Meresankh III, the granddaughter of King Khufu of the 4th Dynasty. This beautifully sculptured and painted tomb was built by her mother, Hetepheres II.

Hetepheres was first marrid to Prince Kewab, the son of Khufu, and rightful heir to the throne. Hetepheres placed herself in a wall painting showing her hair (or headdress) as red. The poor quality of the reproduced photographs make the colors doubtful, but eyewitness reports tell us it was red.

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