Tutankhamun's Great-Grandmother Found to Have Blonde Hair

Chris Menahan
Jun. 17, 2019

New evidence is emerging which suggests at least some of the ancient Egyptians were white Europeans.

From The Daily Star:
Egyptian noblewoman Tjuyu – who is believed to have died in 1375 BC – is most widely known as being the great-grandmother of legendary pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Her tomb was found in 1905 -- 18 years before Tut's -- but it has rarely been opened.

In Channel 5 documentary The Nile: Egypt's Great River, historian Bettany Hughes was given the chance to witness such an occasion at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

[...] The presenter then notices something strange, the "strawberry-blonde" hair of the mummified body.

More from Ancient Origins:
This somewhat bizarre phenomena was explained away by Egyptologist Ikram [on Channel 5] who said that it is unclear how her hair got to be this color, saying "We're not 100% sure [if that is her original hair ]."

One of the reasons offered for the color of hair is the use of 'natrons' in the mummification processes . This naturally occurring mixture of 'sodium carbonate decahydrate', which was also an ancient household insecticide , was primarily used for making leather and to bleach clothing. This implies Tjuyu's true hair color might have been deliberately lightened to give it a blonde-look or may have occurred accidentally through mummification.

Blond Egyptians

In the last section when I referred to "the vast majority of other Ancient Egyptian mummies" having dark brown hair, well, I chose those words very carefully because according to Dr. Janet Davey from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia, some ancient Egyptians were naturally blond and sometimes red haired .
An article recently published by  The Sydney Morning Herald  explains that most researchers claim different colors of the mummy hair resulted from the chemical interactions in the  mummification process  itself (natrons). However, Dr. Davey undertook a series of "innovative experiments" covering "16 hair samples from Egyptian people " in the salty ash for 40 days. Guess what? Not a single change in hair color was observed.
More from The Independent in 2018, "Tomb secrets: The FBI cracks the DNA code on an ancient Egyptian mummy":
Loreille's examination also showed that Djehutynakht's DNA carried clues to another mystery. For centuries, archaeologists and historians have debated the origins of the ancient Egyptians and how closely related they were to modern people living in North Africa. To the researchers' surprise, the governor's mitochondrial DNA indicated his ancestry on his mother's side, or haplogroup, was Eurasian.

"No one will ever believe us," Loreille recalls telling her colleague Jodi Irwin. "There's a European haplogroup in an ancient mummy."

Irwin, the supervisory biologist at the FBI's DNA support unit, had similar concerns. To verify the results, they sent a portion of the tooth to a Harvard lab, and then to the Department of Homeland Security, for further sequencing.

Then last year as the FBI scientists worked to confirm their results, another group affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany reported the first successful extraction of ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies. Their results showed that their ancient Egyptian samples were closer to modern Middle Eastern and European samples than to modern Egyptians, who have more sub-Saharan African ancestry.
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