Scalp with human hair

New Kingdom, 18th-19th Dynasty, c. 1550-1190 B.C.
Medinet Gurob, Tomb 23.
The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London. UC.30139

This human scalp was found under a wig of long black hair, some remnant of the dark haired wig are still present in the form of a plait. The body itself is sadly lost, as it was either not mummified or very poorly mummified. Upon modern discovery, it seemed this body had been completely dried instead of put through the mummification process, and sadly left nothing but dust to be found.

Within the book “Kahun, Gurob, and Hawara” published in 1890, Petrie wrote that he considered the hair colour to be natural, as he felt the body was not mummified and there was no reason for the hair to change in death. He also figured somebody going to such effort to dye their hair just to wear a wig made little sense. He pondered the idea that the person could have been a foreigner, and that possibly the person wore a black wig to hide this or simply because it was the fashion of the time. However, due to the body no longer remaining this is hard to decipher, with advancements in science, perhaps future testing and analysis may begin to tell us something more.