The First Man Mummified Like King Tut in 3,000 Years was Terminally Ill Taxi Driver from England

The late Mr. Billis became the first man mummified in the style of the ancient Egyptians for at least 3,000 years.

Mr. Alan Billis was a taxi driver in Torquay, England who loved documentaries and history. One day saw an ad seeking people willing to be embalmed in the same way as ancient Egypt's King Tutankhamen and, as he was dying from lung cancer, signed up. When he did die at age 61 from the cancer, scientists used the ancient Egyptian embalming techniques not used since 1,323 BC on King Tut's body. 


Mr. Billis' wife Janet and their three grown-up children all gave this their blessing. She said "He just said, 'I’ve just phoned someone up about being mummified.' "I said, 'You’ve what?' I thought here we go again. It’s just the sort of thing you would expect him to do."


Torquay's Tutankhamun

English Channel 4's program called "Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret" recently aired on TV dubbing Alan "Torquay’s Tutankhamun." In the documentary he says,

"People have been leaving their bodies to science for years, and if people don’t volunteer for anything nothing gets found out."

The experts: Professor Vanezis, Dr. Buckley, Dr. Fletcher and Maxine Coe with a mummified Alan Billis before them

The experts: Professor Vanezis, Dr. Buckley, Dr. Fletcher and Maxine Coe with a mummified Alan Billis before them

Except for Mr. Billis' heart and brain, all his internal organs were taken out and put in jars over several months. To preserve his skin, scientists soaked the body in a mix of oils, Natron salt, and resins for a month in a glass tank in the Medico-Legal Center in Sheffield. Afterwards, they put it into a drying chamber and wrapped it in linen fabric.

According to Dr. Stephen Buckley from the University of York that researched Egyptian mummification techniques, believes Mr. Ballis' body will last for thousands of years.

Dr. Stephen Buckley with mummified Mr. Billis

Dr. Stephen Buckley with mummified Mr. Billis

It's good to note how Mrs. Ballis' feels about all this during and after the process. She told the Radio Times,

I didn’t find it upsetting. There wasn’t anything scary. I think it was because you could see they all took such good care of Alan.

When I did eventually watch the film and saw his mummified face, you could see it was still him, still very much Alan.

’I won’t be Tutankhamun, I’ll be Tutanalan,’ he used to say. The involvement in the television programme kept him occupied, took his mind off the illness.
— Mrs. Ballis

Original Mummies

If you want to check out a real Egyptian mummy, you can see King Rameses III in Egypt's Cairo Museum. As for "Tutan-Alan," he will be being studied by scientists researching decomposition. 

The forensic pathologist overseeing the project, Professor Peter Vanezis was impressed with the results saying,  

"The skin itself has this leathery appearance which indicates that he has become mummified all over. It makes me very confident that his tissues have been mummified correctly and in a very successful manner."

So are you now considering volunteering your body for scientific research? Do you think ancient Egyptians mummified their bodies so future generations could clone them to resurrect their royal bloodline? 


Controversial Plastination Exhibits

Besides mummifying via embalming, there's another technique called plastination. This requires fresh bodies whose fluids have not congealed too much because a plasticine solvent replaces the blood and other bodily fluids. When this hardens, the tissues basically become plastic. 


There has been a lot of controversy surrounding a Chinese-based plastination company who cannot prove it got their bodies from willing volunteers nor from bodies left "unclaimed." This company has been parading hundreds of the "unknown" Chinese corpses on display around the world in the Body Exhibitions fully nude with some even engaging in sex acts (which we will not show here). Needless to say, this has sparked shock, outrage, and protests.

According to traditional Chinese culture, the remains of the deceased are treated with great respect and honor. Many Chinese are simply repulsed by such a concept of publicly displaying naked dead bodies. This exhibition is doing something quite different than ancient Egypt preserving their royalty's bodies wrapped up and contained in intricately decorated sarcophaguses. It's even different than privately studying the bodies for medical research, which are also required to be donated. 

A New York Times report found that “Here in China, determining who is in the body business and where the bodies come from is not easy. Museums that hold body exhibitions in China say they have suddenly ‘forgotten’ who supplied their bodies, police officials have regularly changed their stories about what they have done with bodies, and even universities have confirmed and then denied the existence of body preservation operations on their campuses.

In May 2008, a settlement with the attorney general of New York obliged Premier Exhibitions, Sui’s exhibition partner, to publish a disclaimer on its website and at the exhibition hall, stating that the origin of Dalian Hoffen’s cadavers was from ‘the Chinese Bureau of Police.’

This means these bodies are likely from innocent prisoners of conscience who are victims of a brutal and immoral communist regime. 

The largest population of such prisoners in China are of Falun Gong practitioners, who believe in living by the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance and practice a set of qigong-like slow-moving exercises. They have no political aspirations, are non-violent, have no membership system, and don't charge anything.

This kind of traditional self-cultivation practice was well-known and common in Chinese traditional culture. Think of Taoists practicing martial arts and meditation up in the mountains, Buddhist monks farming, training, meditating, and studying Buddhist sutras in temples. It was made available to the public in 1992 by Shifu Li Hongzhi in China and spread by word of mouth to millions of people because of health benefits and being completely free.

However, despite great benefits to society and public popularity, the communist regime could not make money off of it and feared people would become harder to control under its atheistic communist ideology. So, in 1999 the communist dictator Jiang Zemin launched a brutal and unconstitutional persecution campaign arresting, torturing, raping, murdering, and even harvesting organs of Falun Gong practitioners and others.


X-Ray Scans Reveal Secrets of Ancient Egypt's Child Mummy After 1,900 Years

  • Found in Hawara, Egypt in 1911
  • One of 100 "portrait mummies"
  • Combined X-ray and CT scans
  • From upper-class and died of disease

This astonishing small 3-foot mummy was originally found in 1911 by archaeologists in Hawara, Egypt and named the Garret Mummy. There's a detailed portrait covering the face and the linen wrappings were intricately woven in a  geometric pattern of overlapping rhomboids that framed the portrait. It's an image of a little girl with a serene look on her face, dark hair tied back, wearing a dark red tunic and gold jewelry. Entombed besides her in the same underground chamber were four other mummies.



Modern Tech Solves an Ancient Mystery

After 106 years of patiently waiting for some method to examine the mummy without damaging it, scientists from Northwestern University are using an innovative X-ray scanning technique to see through her mystery. These scans revealed how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago, what items she was buried with, and even what killed her. 

This is the first time x-ray scattering technique has been used on a human mummy as it uses extremely brilliant high-energy x-rays combined with CT scans to probe the materials and objects inside the mummy, while leaving the mummy and her wrappings intact. 

This recreated a 3D map of the mummy's entire structure allowing researchers to confirm she was a 5-year-old girl. 

The study's leader, Professor Stuart Stock, said:

"This is a unique experiment, a 3D puzzle. We have some preliminary findings about the various materials, but it will take days before we tighten down the precise answers to our questions. We have confirmed that the shards in the brain cavity are likely solidified pitch, not a crystalline material. We also are investigating a scarab-shaped object, her teeth, and what look like wires near the mummy's head and feet."


Portrait Mummies

Other than the Garrett mummy, there are about 100 other mummies with lifelike portraits placed over their faces. Researchers believe Romans influenced the Egyptians to create paintings for the deceased instead of sculptures. 


The Garrett Mummy's portrait looks different than the others, like using a unique style from another artisan or workshop. Analysis shows the painting was made with beeswax and pigments. These clues lead researchers to believe this mummified girl belonged to an upper-class household who had the wealth and culture to preserve their child in such a way. 

Such an exotic find among an already rare mummy caused great excitement for Professor Marc Walton, a researcher of the study, who said:

"Intact portrait mummies are exceedingly rare, and to have one here on campus was revelatory for the class and exhibition. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our undergraduate students - and for me - to work at understanding the whole object that is this girl mummy. Today's powerful analytical tools allow us to nondestructively do the archaeology scientists couldn't do 100 years ago."


The scans suggested the girl died of tuberculosis, smallpox, or malaria, says Dr. Taco Terpstra.

Since there were no obvious signs of physical damage, it's more likely she died from a disease. 

We’re basically able to go back to an excavation that happened more than 100 years ago and reconstruct it with our contemporary analysis techniques. All the information we find will help us enrich the entire historical context of this young girl mummy and the Roman period in Egypt.
— Professor Walden

Future Possibilities

With this Garrett Mummy study as an example of how technology can help archaeologists and historians extract more information from hard to investigate artifacts, especially such old and delicate ones wrapped beneath layers of culturally significant materials, there may be a new wave of data when scientists restudy such ancient items with new scanners.

The mysterious void found in the Great Pyramid of Giza is one more example of this, and I can't wait until they try scanning those crystal skulls


The 90 Year Old Mummy With NO Sign of Decay


The body of Hambo Lama Itighelov, who was a spiritual leader of Russian Buddhists from 1911 to 1927, was first exhumed from the grave in 1955, at the Lama’s request. When after the third exhumation in 2002 after 75 years since the Lama’s death, his body still showed no signs of decay, medical experts decided to examine the miracle.

The grave contained a wooden box and there was a sitting Buddhist lama in a ‘lotus’ position. His body was preserved as if it were mummified, however it was not. The body was covered with silk clothes and fabric. “Samples taken 75 years after the body had been buried, show that the organics of the skin, hair, and nails of the dead man aren’t any different from that of a living human,” a professor of history at the Russian State University for Humanities, Galina Yershova stated at a press-conference in “Interfax” central office in Moscow, according to

“His joints flex, the soft tissues are elastic just like in a living person, and after they opened the box, where the body of the Lama lay for 75 years, there was a very pleasant fragrance,” Yershova was quoted as saying.

Yershova believes this is completely inconsistent with what one would expect of a body that has been buried for 75 years.

The body has become holy for Buddhists in the Russian region of Buryatia, where it now rests in the Ivolgin Buddhist Monastery in the regional capital of Ulan-Ude.

Hambo Lama Itighelov is a real person, well known in Russian history. He studied at the Anninsky Datsan, the Buddhist University in Buryatia. Itighelov got degrees in medicine and philosophy (on the nature of emptiness). He also created an encyclopedia of pharmacology.

In 1911, Itighelov became a Hambo Lama (the head of Buddhist church in Russia). During the period from 1913 to 1917, he opened the first Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg. Itighelov published religious tractates and teachings and united many of the religion’s factions.

He was invited to celebrate the 300-th anniversary of Romanov’s house, and on March 19, 1917, the Russian Tsar Nikolai II gave him St. Stanislav Award.

During the First World War, Itighelov was helping the army with money, clothes and medications. He also had built a set of hospitals where lama doctors helped to cure wounded militants. For his contributions, Itighelov was awarded with St. Anna medal.

In 1926, he warned the Buddhist monks about the coming ‘red’ terror and advised them to flee to Tibet. But he himself never left Russia.

In 1927, Itighelov told lamas that he was preparing to leave this world. He started a meditation and soon was dead.

Itighelov left a testament where he had requested to bury him as he was, sitting in a ‘lotus’ position in the cedar box on a traditional cemetery. There was also a statement, where he asked monks to exhume him after several years.

His will was fulfilled in 1955 and in 1973 respectively, by Buddhist monks. But it was kept in secret, since all kinds of religions were forbidden under the communist rule.

The Soviet Union, under Stalin, repressed most manifestations of religion, executing hundreds of lamas and destroying 46 Buddhist temples and monasteries.

In the years since the Soviet Union collapse, across Russia the Buddhists have begun to thrive again, rebuilding ruined temples that attracted more followers.

On September 11, 2002, seventy five years after Itighelov’s death, the body was for the third time lifted from the earth. This time there was a record of the event: a dozen of witnesses, including two forensic experts and a photographer.

Soon the Lama’s body was transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan (a residence of today’s Hambo Lama), where it was closely examined by monks, scientists and pathologists.

With the permission of the Buddhist clergy, scientists investigated samples of tissues of the “imperishable body”. They compared them with those of living people.

When one of the scientists approached the body, she could clearly feel the warmth of his hands.

Professor Viktor Zvyagin from the Federal Center for Forensic Medicine, examined Itighelov’s body in Ivolginsk last November, and conducted analyses of hair, skin and nail specimens after his return to Moscow. He concluded that Itighelov’s body was in the condition of someone who had died 36 hours ago.

According to the results, the protein structure of the body was not damaged; it was identical to the one of a living person.

Scientists were dumbfounded by the results of the chemical composition of his body. They could not explain the fact that chemical elements in Itighelov’s body were either absent or present in negligibly small quantities.

Two years had passed. Itighelov’s body is now kept in the open air, without any temperature or humidity restrictions.

Nobody understands how the body can stay in this condition.

The official statement was issued about the body – very well preserved, without any signs of decay, muscles and inner tissues, soft joints and skin being intact. It was confirmed that the body was never embalmed or mummified.

“He was 75 years old, and he promised to return to his followers after another 75 years,” Yanzhima Vasilyeva, the director of Itigilov’s Institute, said.

“The most amazing thing is that he was still sitting upright. Scientists say that after two weeks a dead body cannot stay upright on its own,” Vasilyeva continued.

Itighelov’s caretaker Bimbo Lama, stays close to his teacher almost at all times.

Once in a while he changes Itighelov’s clothing, and at that time Lama’s joints become more flexible. Bimbo lama has noted that while changing the clothes, he could smell a fragrance coming from the teacher’s body.

The lamas have dressed the body in a golden robe, with a blue sash laid across his lap. His eyes are closed, his features blurred, though the shape of his face and his nose doubtlessly resemble his picture taken in 1913. His hands remain flexible, his nails perfectly trimmed. His skin is soft. His head is still covered in short-trimmed hair.

According to Professor Yershova, this is the only confirmed and recorded case of the body, imperishable over such a long period of time in the entire world.

Embalming and mummifying is well known among different nations and peoples – Egyptian mummies, Christian Saints, communist leaders and others. Some bodies were found in permafrost, however when they contacted with oxygen atmosphere they perished within several hours.

Lamas from the temple relate many miracles, taking place around the “precious body”. Some people become magically healed upon seeing the body of Hambo Lama.

Itighelov said before his death that he had left a message to all people on Earth.

“There is a great moral crisis in Russia today,” Vasilyeva said, “Itighelov’s return presents a great opportunity to help people believe.”

A fragment of the interview with Hambo Lama Ayusheyev, the spiritual leader since 1995, has been also demonstrated at the press-conference.

“Many people don’t see what’s obvious,” he said. “Many people won’t understand even if they see him.”

However, there are descriptions of such things in Buddhist texts, but there were no confirmed examples. Well, now it looks like there is one. And that time came to comprehend the Lama’s unspoken message.

“To me, it is the greatest miracle in life,” said Hambo Lama Ayusheyev. “It turns out there are things on which time has no power.”

Towns And Villages You Didn't Know Were Cursed

Haunted or cursed places where strange supernatural phenomena take place are typically the foundation of a vast assortment of novels and movies in the horror genre that exists today. From novels like Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” to the film classics like Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead,” the plots of scary fictional tales with this kind of common theme are sometimes even set in towns and villages that actually exist in the real world. These existing locations are believed by many to be haunted by ghosts or cursed by powerful and malevolent unearthly beings. Because there are many chilling accounts of allegedly real hauntings and tragic events involving these old towns and villages, it is not surprising that they are used in fiction to maximize a story’s potential to horrify and terrorize its audience.

1. The Al Jazirah Al Hamra

Once a prosperous fishing village located on the northeastern edge of the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazirah Al Hamra used to be filled with antiquated houses that date back to the ancient times and was once an active coastal area where various trade transactions took place. For some reason, around 1968, the residents of the village collectively abandoned their homes. Today, while many of these previous inhabitants still have ownership over some of the land in the village, very few of their descendants continue to live there.

It was around the 1960s when rumors of Al Jazirah Al Hamra being haunted started to gain ground among UAE citizens. Many believe that the village is home to several “djinns” or genies – supernatural creatures in Arabian and Islamic mythologies. These djinns, in particular, are malevolent beings that feed on human flesh. Because of the dark tale surrounding the village, it is a popular tourist spot for those who enjoy ghost hunting and thrill-seeking. While some residents in the area discourage the nocturnal visits of strangers, many locals have also reported sightings of these djinns and have shared their stories with others.

2. The Cinco Saltos

Located in the rural region of Rio Negro, the City of Cinco Saltos is also notoriously known as the “City of Witches” due to reports of the rampant presence of black magicians, necromancers, and witches in the area. One infamous story about this old city involves its large cemetery where a body of a 12-year-old girl was supposedly found while workers renovated the area. Despite the fact that the girl was dead for around 70 years, the girl’s body is well-preserved due to mummification. Some even say that her body was tied to her coffin, leading superstitious residents of the city to suggest that the girl was used as a sacrifice in an occult ritual conducted by one of the hidden covens in the city. There are also reports of seeing a ghost of young girl roaming around the cemetery.

Another terrifying tale said to have taken place in Cinco Saltos involves the Pellegrini Lake where many child sacrifices were purportedly performed by the resident witches. This is supported by reports from visitors of hearing eerie shrieks of young kids when they pass through the lake’s crossing at night. Some people tried to locate the source of these unnerving screams but they always ended up unsuccessful.

3. The Dargavs

This village is more popularly known as the “City of the Dead” and is regarded as among the most enigmatic locations in Russia. Hidden somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains in North Ossetia of southern Russia. Looking at the site from a distance, it may seem like a regular hill village with crude houses, but in reality, Dargavs is no ordinary village. It is actually an ancient necropolis built around the Middle Ages. People of the Ossetian or Alanian tribe erected these house-looking crypts to bury their family members in, and today, there are currently around 100 stone crypts in the area and some of them contain scattered bones.

Today, many of the residents residing on the mountains steer clear of the necropolis due to a local legend warning that those who would visit the tombs in Dargavs end up receiving a curse that supposedly drives them to an early grave. It also doesn’t help that the area is covered with fog most of the time, adding a spookier feel to the grave site.

4. The Canewdon

Located in East Anglia, Canewdon is often referred to as the “witch country” of England as there are a lot of unverified superstitious tales surrounding the village, particularly about witchcraft. There was once a prophecy made by a famous “cunning man” from the 19th century named James Murrell about Canewdon, saying that the area would be doomed to be infested with witches forever. This makes sense in a way since the village has been the subject of witch lore since the 16th century. There is also a legend which states that each instance that a stone drops from the tower of St. Nicholas Church, a witch will perish only to have another take her place. Another legend claims that should a person run counterclockwise around the church or one of the tombs found in its courtyard during Halloween, ghosts, witches or even the Devil would appear.

More than the legends, what’s really tragic about the village of Canewdon was the fact that it was the site of many witch trials and executions that resulted in the suffering and demise of many people during the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the more notable magicians who came from Canewdon include George Pickingill, a black magician heralded as one of the world’s primary authority on witchcraft and Satanism during the early 20th century.

5. The Yarumal

The municipality of Yarumal in the Antioquia Department of Colombia has the unfortunate reputation of having an alarmingly large portion of its population suffer from the neurological curse of dementia. Out of 5,000 of its villagers, it has been determined that half of them will develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, with some of them getting afflicted with the neurological disease even before they hit 40 years of age.

As for the reason why so many of the residents in Yarumal are fated to suffer the affliction of dementia early in their lives, scientists have determined that a genetic mutation causing the disease can be traced back to a Spanish conquistador who arrived in the region sometime in the 17th century. The mutation is referred to as E280A and can be found on the 14th chromosome of a gene. While suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease is not fate that should be wished on anyone, there is a silver lining to the fact that many of the residents in Yarumal have this particular genetic mutation. Researchers believe that the people of Yarumal are the key to finding a permanent and effective cure to dementia, which is why the mountain village today is also serving as a large laboratory where the conditions of the villagers are thoroughly studied.

6. The Bhangarh

Regarded as the most haunted site in India, the ruins of the city of Bhangarh in the Rajasthan, India was once a stronghold of the Mughal Empire during the 16th century until the empire weakened by the early 19th century. However, it was the famine of 1783 that drastically diminished the human population in city and since then, Bhangarh has remained largely uninhabited.

The fort of Bhangarh is full of temples and palaces but despite its breathtaking sites, the city today is nothing more than an abandoned “ghost” town. In fact, even now, entry to the city between sunset and sunrise is prohibited and outsiders are warned against entering the city by the Archaeology Survey of India. There is even a legend circulating in the region that anyone who dared to visit the ghost city at night is fated to remain trapped inside the city’s ruins for eternity. Nevertheless, thousands of people have visited Bhangarh at night every year, either because they don’t believe in the curse or they want to see for themselves if it’s real.

As for why the city is cursed, one story tells of a holy man called Baba Balnath who gave his permission for the people to construct the town so long as the buildings they erected did not cast a shadow over his residence. If they did, he would punish the people by destroying the city. A descendant prince, however, violated this rule leading Balnath to curse the entire town.

Another tale speaks of a wizard called Singhiya who fell in love with the princess of Bhangarh named Ratnavati. To make the princess love him, Singhiya cast a spell on a fragrance purchased by one of the princess’s attendants. However, the princess saw through the plan and caused the magician’s death. Before he took his last breath, Singhiya cursed Bhangarh, prophesizing that people would soon abandon the city completely.

There is no way to tell if all these old towns and villages from different parts of the world are actually cursed. What we can say is that the spooky tales and legendary curses connected with these old sites are what makes these places all the more interesting for many of us. This is why many of us go out of our way to see them for ourselves – because they infuse a little fear, strangeness, and mystery into our normal lives.


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?

Theory That Some Ancient Egyptians Were of Caucasoid Origin

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.

The “Ginger” from the Gebelein Pre-Dynastic Mummies

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.

Red-Haired Mummies from the Fag el-Gamous Cemetry

Another example of uncovered red-haired mummies from Ancient Egypt are the ones found among thousands of other mummies by a group of archeologists in the Fag el-Gamous graveyard in the south of Cairo.

Archaeologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah have been excavating the Fag el-Gamous cemetery for about 30 years, and they had established that many of the mummies they have found date back date back to 30 BC, which is around the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire ruled Egypt. Researchers concluded that there were more than a million bodies within this cemetery, and it was also revealed that the Fag el-Gamous graveyard was not intended for royalty, but for the common people.

There were many interesting discoveries that were uncovered in the excavation of this ancient cemetery and the analysis of the mummies found buried in the area, and one of them is the observation that the mummies appear to be clustered together according to hair color. They found blonde-haired mummies in one area, while another area was filled with red-haired ones. This led to the overall impression that the clusters of mummies buried by hair color in the graveyard could be indicative that these people once belonged to the same family groups, and therefore, were related to each other. This also speaks volumes of the possibility that a small but significant part of ancient Egypt’s population was red-haired or blonde-haired individuals.

The Mummy of Ramesses II

The last case of red-haired Egyptian mummies we will be discussing is the preserved body of Ramesses II – who is arguably the most famous of all the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Ramesses II ruled as a Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty between 1279 to 1213 BC and is believed to be the one who reigned when the Children of Israel were liberated through the prophet Moses.

In 1975, the Egyptian government tasked French scientists to attempt the preservation of Ramesses’s mummy. This opened an opportunity for researchers to determine his age, body condition, health, diet, and even his racial affinities. There were those who were of the opinion that Ramesses II was black. However, according to the study conducted by Professor P.F. Ceccaldi and his research team, microscopic examinations of the pharaoh’s hair roots showed that his hair had natural red pigments, which meant that in his younger years, Ramesses II was a red head. Moreover, it was also determined that Ramesses had wavy hair, and a combination of these features meant that the pharaoh was fair-skinned.



While there has been enough evidence for some experts to conclude that some ancient Egyptians were blonde or red-haired – there are still many researchers who believe that there was no Ancient Egyptians whose natural hair wasn't dark brown or black. Some of these skeptics argue that mummies found with light-colored strands of hair can be explained by the effects of the mummification process itself.

And so, to find a definitive answer to this intriguing question about the effects of the mummification process on human hair, Dr. Janet Davey from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia decided to conduct experiments on 16 hair samples from men and women aged between 4 and 92 years old. Most of the hair samples were dark-colored, but for comparison, one of the sample strands was gray, while another one was fair. There was also one strand with henna on it.

Davey and her colleague, retired industrial chemist Alan Elliot, also prepared some powder of synthetic natron for their experiment. Natron was a type of salt that was applied on the bodies during the process of mummification to dry them out. It has also been linked to the supposed change in the hair color of the human remains.  

Davey and Elliot covered the hair samples in synthetic natron for 40 days – the same amount of time believed to be required back in ancient times to dry out human bodies. When the 40-day period had passed, the samples were removed from the salty powder, and after undergoing microscopic analysis, it was determined that there was no change in the color of the hair samples at all.

For Dr. Davey, the result of her experiment is convincing enough to say that fair-haired Egyptians did exist in Ancient Egypt; it’s just that finding fair-haired Egyptian mummies has so far been a very rare occurrence. Some ancient Egyptians could have been blue-eyed blondes or red heads, and while the country during those times was not as multi-cultural as several parts of the world are today, there were certainly a variety of racial mixes that made the existence of fair-skinned Egyptians possible.   

Now, is this discovery particularly earth-shattering? Well, it depends on which vantage point you are analyzing the evidence from. It remains the fact that a majority of Egyptians today are dark-haired and dark-skinned. These archaeological, anthropological and forensic evidence merely attest to a not-so implausible reality that, at some point in its ancient history, there was a portion of the people in Egypt who were red or blonde-haired and fair-skinned. In our modern world, individuals of different race and ethnicities encounter and mingle with each other like a natural habit, if not an inescapable necessity. So, is it really that surprising that our ancestors did the same thing thousands of years ago?