Ancient Egyptian woman with 70 hair extensions discovery


The remains of a 3,300-year-old woman who wore a complex hairstyle with 70 hair extensions was discovered in the ancient city of Armana. Credit: Photo by Jolanda Bos and Lonneke Beukenholdt

From LiveScience:

Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor

September 17, 2014 08:40am ET

More than 3,300 years ago, in a newly built city in Egypt, a woman with an incredibly elaborate hairstyle of lengthy hair extensions was laid to rest.

She was not mummified, her body simply being wrapped in a mat. When archaeologists uncovered her remains they found she wore “a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head,” writes Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project, in an article recently published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

Researchers don’t know her name, age or occupation, but she is one of hundreds of people, including many others whose hairstyles are still intact, who were buried in a cemetery near an ancient city now called Amarna. [See Photos of the Egyptian Skeletons and Elaborate Hairstyles]

This city was constructed as a new capital of Egypt by Akhenaten (reign ca. 1353-1335 B.C.), a pharaoh who unleashed a religious revolution that saw the Aten, a deity shaped as a sun disk, assume supremacy in Egyptian religion. Akhenaten ordered that Amarna be constructed in the desert and that images of some of Egypt’s other gods be destroyed. Amarna was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death, and today archaeologists supported by the Amarna Trust are investigating all aspects of the ancient city, including the hairstyles its people wore.

Bos is leading the hairstyle research, and the woman with 70 extensions leaves her puzzled.

“Whether or not the woman had her hair styled like this for her burial only is one of our main research questions,” said Bos in an email to 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.”

Many of the other skulls Bos analyzed also had hair extensions. One skull had extensions made of gray and dark black hair suggesting multiple people donated their hair to create extensions.

Hairy discoveries

As Bos analyzed a selection of 100 recently excavated skulls (of which 28 still had hair) from the Armana cemetery, she noticed the people who lived in the ancient city had a wide variety of hair types. They range “from very curly black hair, to middle brown straight,” she noted in the journal article, something “that might reflect a degree of ethnic variation.” [Photos: 10 Iconic Hairstyles That Took Root]

Those skulls with brown hair often had rings or coils around their ears, a style that was popular at Amarna, she found. Why people in this city liked it is unknown. “We still have no idea. This is of course one of the answers we are still trying to find from the record,” said Bos in the email.

People in the city also seemed to be fond of braids. “All braids found in the coiffures were simple and of three strands, mostly 1 cm [0.4 inches] wide, with strands of approximately 0.5 cm [0.2 inches] when tightly braided,” Bos writes in the journal article.

People at Amarna also liked to keep their hair short. “Braids were often not more than 20 cm [7.9 inches] long, leaving the hair at shoulder length approximately,” Bos added. “The longest hair that was found consisted of multilayered extensions to a length of approximately 30 cm [11.8 inches].”

Fat was used to help create all the hairstyles Bos found, something that would have helped keep the hair in one piece after death. More research is needed to determine whether the fat was from animals. A textile found on each of the skulls may have been used to cover part of the head.

Hide the gray?

In one case a woman has an orange-red color on her graying hair. It appears that that she dyed her hair, possibly with henna (a flowering plant).

“We are still not completely sure if and what kind of hair coloring was used on this hair, it only seems that way macroscopically,” said Bos in the email. “At present we are analyzing the hairs in order to find out whether or not some kind of coloring was used. On other sites dyed hair was found from ancient Egypt.”

This woman, among other ancient Egyptians, may have dyed her hair “for the same reason as why people dye their hair today, in order not to show the gray color,” Bos said.

Egyptian blogger freed on bail


This 2011 video is called Alaa Abdel Fattah, Egyptian Blogger and Critic of Military Regime, Speaks Out After Release.

From Associated Press:

Sep. 15, 2014 | 12:13 PM

Egypt’s most prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah released on bail

CAIRO: Relatives say that Egypt’s most prominent activist who is standing retrial after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for violating to the country’s draconian protest law, has been released on bail.

Mona Seif, sister of blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a vocal government critic since mid-2000, said on her Facebook page that her brother has been granted a release on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (714 dollars) along with two other activists Monday. His lawyer confirmed the release.

She added that the judge presiding over his retrial had stepped down at the request of defense lawyers.

Abdel-Fattah’s sentence was the harshest sentence given to secular activists amid authorities’ crackdown on Islamists. He was granted a retrial last month on charges of organizing an unauthorized protest last November.

Egyptian pro-democracy hunger strike


This April 2014 video from the USA is called Exclusive: Egyptian Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah on Prison, Regime’s War on a Whole Generation 1/3.

And these two videos are the sequels.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Hunger strikers support release of jailed activists

Friday 12th September 2014

Dozens of Egyptians were on hunger strike yesterday to demand the release of activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and two others, who they say are being unfairly detained.

A court sentenced Mr Fattah, a leading figure in the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, to 15 years in jail in June for violating a law curtailing protests. Twenty-four others were also sentenced to 15 years but only the three remain in jail.

They have been on hunger strike since August 18. At their retrial on Wednesday, the judge set September 15 as the date of the next hearing.

Mr Fattah’s mother Laila Soueif said at the court that she went on hunger strike after losing faith in the court.

“I do not trust the judiciary,” she said. “I am relying on public opinion.”

Ms Soueif said she and her daughters had begun a hunger strike on August 28.

Activist Omar Robert Hamilton said 65 other people had also given up food as part of the campaign.

Ancient Egyptian pharaoh statues, new in museum


Statue of Pharaoh Ninetjer

Translated from the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in Leiden today:

The National Museum of Antiquities has bought two ancient Egyptian pharaoh statues, including the oldest statue in the world with a pharaoh‘s name on it. It is a seated figure of pharaoh Ninetjer, one of the first kings of ancient Egypt (ca. 2785-2742 BC). The museum also bought a tomb statue of pharaoh Taharqa (690-664 BC.), one of the “black pharaohs” from Sudan.

Until the beginning of November 2014, you can see the pharaoh statues in a display in the entrance hall of the museum, next to the Egyptian temple. In 2016, they will get a prominent place in the by then renovated Egyptian department.

The Ninetjer statue is 13 centimeter high. The hieroglyph inscription on the statue says: ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt, protected by the vulture and cobra, Ninetjer’. The cobra was the symbol of northern Egypt; the vulture of southern Egypt.

Pharaoh Taharqa statue

The Taharqa statue is 35 centimeter.

Bahrain human rights activist’s years in jail for tweets


This video says about itself:

8 May 2012

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain. Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta.

El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. A member of a staunch pro-regime family, Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988. Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002. Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout.

Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime. After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport , and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

From the Irish Times:

Bahrain human rights activist spent two years in jail for tweets

Nabeel Rajab urges Ireland ‘to fight for democracy around the world’

Erin McGuire

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:00

A Bahraini human rights activist who spent two years in prison for using Twitter to call for peaceful protests has urged Irish people to “fight for democracy around the world”.

Speaking yesterday in Dublin, Nabeel Rajab said the human rights situation in Bahrain was deteriorating, with increasing numbers of people being jailed or forced into hiding.

Rajab was released from prison in May after serving two years of a three-year term. He was arrested several times for his involvement in pro-democracy protests during the 2011 Arab Spring. All of his arrests were related to tweets criticising the government or encouraging people to demonstrate.

During the Arab Spring, activists in Bahrain were required by law to ask for permission to protest. Protests in the capital Manama have since been banned.

Social media use

Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and co-founder of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, is known for using social media in his human rights work.

He has 234,000 Twitter followers, more than anyone else in Bahrain, a country smaller than Co Dublin with a population of 1.3 million. “The government hates [my social media presence] because of the influence I have. When they put me in jail they thought the Twitter account would stop, but it continued – my Facebook and Twitter accounts kept working.”

The Bahraini government’s violent crackdown on protesters motivated him to transfer his contracting business to his family. “When I realised I would be targeted and could get killed, I transferred everything to my family, my wife . . . I’m a fighter for human rights. Fears about my personal life were not an issue. I was prepared for anything.”

Many of his friends were also arrested during the Arab Spr- ing. He estimates 50,000 people were in and out of Bahraini jails in the past three years.

While in prison, he was isolated from other political prisoners and kept in a cell with people who spoke different languages so he could not communicate with them.

Rajab is on a two-day visit to Dublin as a guest of Front Line Defenders, a non-governmental organisation that protects human rights defenders. He is briefing Government officials and rights organisations on the clampdown in Bahrain.

Rajab believes there are similarities between Bahrain and Ireland in their shared struggles for democracy, justice and equality. “You were ruled by the British; we are ruled by a family who invaded the country 200 years ago and treated the indigenous population badly. [The government] marginalised people, put them in jail.”

He says that because Ireland achieved democracy, the Irish people “have an obligation to fight for democracy around the world . . . and to play a more active role in human rights struggles in the Middle East”.

This is especially important to Rajab now, as he believes the situation in Bahrain has deteriorated. “There are more people in jail, in exile, in hiding. There are more human rights violations. The Shia people are being marginalised more . . . The government’s efforts to contain the media have been successful.”

Rajab will return to Bahrain even though he does not feel safe there. He plans to dedicate the rest of his life to human rights work, despite the fact it could land him back in jail.

“Prison made me much more determined. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else . . . I’m going to continue tweeting, raising human rights issues, empowering people and criticising dictators of repressive regimes. I don’t want to end up in jail, but I’m not afraid . . . The situation has to change and I’m willing to pay the price for those changes.”

US Rep Jim McGovern Issues Statement on Refusal of Bahraini Government to Grant Him Access to Bahrain: here.