Archaeologists working at the Amarna site in Egypt recently analyzed a selection of 100 skulls dug out from a cemetery. Many of the remains exhibited elaborate hairstyles, including one with more than 70 hair extensions and another with red henna hair dye.

As reported in Live Science, the remains were found near Amarna — a city built as the new capital of Egypt under the reign of Akhenaten (reign ca. 1353-1335 B.C.), a revolutionary king who sought to establish the first monotheistic religion.

Among the finds were the remains of an unidentified woman who featured a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head. According to Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project, it's not clear if the extensions were added before or after death.


"Whether or not the woman had her hair styled like this for her burial only is one of our main research questions," Bos told Live Science. "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."

Related: Ancient Roman Vestal Virgin hairstyle re-created for very first time


Some of the other skulls also had extensions, including one made of grey and dark black hair, which suggests multiple people donated their hair to create the extensions. In another case, a woman had an orange-red color on her greying hair. It's possible that she dyed her hair with henna, a flowering plant, in order to hide the grey.

There's much more to this article at Live Science, including descriptions of popular hairstyles of the time.

Images: Jolanda Bos and Lonneke Beukenholdt.