The discovery of what archaeologists claim to be “thousands” of blond and red-haired mummies in an Egyptian graveyard only provides an insight into the racial makeup of Egypt during Roman and Macedonian rule, and not that of ancient Egypt.
The excavations at the Fag el-Gamous graveyard, located to the south of Cairo, carried out by an archaeological team from the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, were started 30 years ago, and most of the mummies unearthed appear to date from the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt in 30 BC.
This occurred at the very end of the Macedonian Ptolemy dynasty in 30 BC, when the last queen, the famous Cleopatra (actually Cleopatra VII), committed suicide after she backed Mark Anthony in the Roman Civil War against Octavian, Julius Caesar’s successor.
The Ptolemies however, were not Egyptian at all, and date from the time of Alexander the Great’s occupation of Egypt in 332 BC.
Upon Alexander’s death, Egypt was given to his general Ptolemy I Soter in 323 BC, and the country remained under Macedonian rule until Cleopatra VII’s suicide.
The last “Egyptian” rulers of Egypt, in the “ancient” popular sense of the world, in fact passed from the stage of history hundreds of years even before the Macedonian occupation.
Originally founded by a majority European (Mediterranean with a Nordic ruling class) element, Semites and Nubians were present in Egypt from the earliest dynasties which were started around 3,000 BC.
The numbers of Semites and Nubians gradually increased through the centuries, until the time of the 24th Dynasty of around 800 BC, when the majority of Egyptian society was of mixed race.
The very next Dynasty—the 25th—was created by African (Nubian) invaders of Egypt from the Kingdom of Kush, which easily overran their now mixed-race neighbors to the north. The 25th dynasty lasted from 760 BC to 656 BC, where after they also fell before Assyrian and other foreign invaders.
The original founders of what is popularly called “ancient Egypt” vanished hundreds of years before the invasion by Alexander the Great, and nearly 1,000 years before the burials at the Fag el-Gamous graveyard.
As a result, the blond and red-haired mummies now being unearthed in the Fag el-Gamous graveyard are likely to be from the Macedonian element of society and will be representative of the Egyptian population long after the fall of the original Egyptians.
This population was composed primarily of the mixed-race population of Egypt, plus large numbers of newer invaders, including tens of thousands of Macedonians—who would have been the most European-looking of all the new settlers, thousands of Jews imported from neighboring Judea, Galatian mercenaries from Asia Minor, and scattered numbers of Assyrians and Nubians.
According to Project Director Kerry Muhlstein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, as quoted in Live Science, the researchers are “fairly certain” that there are “over a million burials within this cemetery.”
According to a paper by Muhlstein presented at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held in Toronto, the Fag el-Gamous graveyard was not a burial ground for kings or royalty, but for common people.
As a result, there was no deliberate mummification process and it was only the natural arid environment which has preserved the bodies in mummified form.
Despite the low status of the dead, the researchers found some remarkably beautiful items, including linen, glass and even colorful booties designed for a child.
Muhlstein’s team is in the early stages of creating a database of all the mummies they have excavated, but it has already provided some intriguing initial results. Muhlstein said he and the other researchers can use the database to “show us all of the blond burials, and [it shows] they are clustered in one area, or all of the red-headed burials, and [it shows] they’re clustered in another area.”
These clusters are interesting because they suggest “perhaps we have family areas or genetic groups [in certain areas], but we’re still trying to explore that,” Muhlstein said.