The question of the race of ancient Egyptians was raised historically as a product of the scientific racism of the 18th and 19th centuries, and was linked to models of racial hierarchy. A variety of views circulated about the racial identity of the Egyptians and the source of their culture.[1] These were typically identified in terms of a distinction between the "Black African" and white or "darkened Caucasian" (including Eurasian and Asiatic) racial categories. Some accounts argued that Egyptian culture emerged from more southerly African peoples, while others pointed to influences from the Near East (the Levant, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor), and yet others proposed that at least the upper classes were white or "darkened" Caucasians.

Since the second half of the 20th century, scholarly consensus has held that applying modern notions of race to ancient Egypt is anachronistic. The 2001 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt states that "Any characterization of race of the ancient Egyptians depends on modern cultural definitions, not on scientific study.”[2] Frank M. Snowden asserts that "Egyptians, Greeks and Romans attached no special stigma to the colour of the skin and developed no hierarchical notions of race whereby highest and lowest positions in the social pyramid were based on colour."[3][4] Additionally, typological and hierarchical models of race have increasingly been rejected by scientists. Recent studies suggest that the modern population is genetically consistent with an ancient Egyptian indigenous to northeast Africa.

In the late 20th century, the typological model was revived in the domain of Afrocentric historiography and Black nationalism which suggests that Ancient Egypt was a "black civilization"[5] This includes a particular focus on links to southern African (Sub Saharan) cultures and the questioning of the race of specific notable individuals from Dynastic times, including Tutankhamun[6], Cleopatra VII,[7][8][9] and the king represented in the Great Sphinx of Giza.[10][11] This theory points to an alleged strong cultural and ethnic affinity of the southern ancient Egyptians with their southern neighbours, the Nubians, and claims that the ancient Egyptians were more like their African neighbours than their Asiatic and Southern-European neighbours in terms of their skin colour and features.[12]


Egyptian races

An 1820 drawing of a Book of Gates fresco from the tomb of Seti I, depicting (from left): a Libyan, a Nubian, an Asiatic, and an Egyptian.

The earliest examples of disagreement in relatively recent times, regarding the race of the ancient Egyptians, occurred in the work of Europeans and Americans early in the 19th century. For example, in an article published in the New-England Magazine of October 1833, the authors dispute a claim that the Ancient Egyptians "were adduced, affirmed to be Ethiopians." Among other things, they point out (at pg 275), with reference to tomb paintings: "It may be observed that the complexion of the men is invariably red, that of the women yellow; but neither of them can be said to have anything in their physiognomy at all resembling the Negro countenance." And (at pg 276) they state, with reference to the Sphinx: "The features are Nubian, or what, from ancient representations, may be called Ancient Egyptian, which is quite different from the Negro features."[13]

In his Principes Physiques de la Morale, Déduits de l'Organisation de l'Homme et de l'Univers, Constantin-François Chassebœuf, Count Volney writes that "The Copts are the proper representatives of the Ancient Egyptians" due to their "jaundiced and fumed skin, which is neither Greek, Negro nor Arab, their full faces, their puffy eyes, their crushed noses, and their thick lips."[14]

Just a few years later, in 1839, Champollion states in his work "Egypte Ancienne" that the Egyptians and Nubians are represented in the same manner in tomb paintings and reliefs and that "The first tribes that inhabited Egypt, that is, the Nile Valley between the Syene cataract and the sea, came from Abyssinia to Sennar. In the Copts of Egypt, we do not find any of the characteristic features of the Ancient Egyptian population. The Copts are the result of crossbreeding with all the nations that successfully dominated Egypt. It is wrong to seek in them the principal features of the old race."[15]

W. M. Flinders Petrie believed that the Dynastic Race came from or through Punt[16] and E. A. Wallis Budge stated that “Egyptian tradition of the Dynastic Period held that the aboriginal home of the Egyptians was Punt…”.[17]. While the exact location is still under debate, Punt is generally believed to have been located in the South Eastern region of Egypt.[18][19][20].

Asiatic race theoryEdit

From the Early Middle Ages (c. 500 AD) all the way up to the early 19th century the most dominant view was that the ancient Egyptians were the lineal descendants of Ham, through his son Mizraim.[21] A theory which subsequently became known as the "Asiatic Race Theory".[22] The native Egyptians, by a literal interpretation of Biblical chronology, were believed to have arrived in Egypt from South-West Asia, usually between the 4th or 3rd millennium BC after the flood and dispersal of man at the Tower of Babel.[23] The descendants of Ham were traditionally considered to be the darkest skinned branch of Humanity, either because of their geographic allotment to Africa or because of the Curse of Ham.[24] However it became disputed at least by the 18th century whether Mizraim’s descendants, the Egyptians, were Negroid or in contrast a dark skinned Caucasian race.[25]

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a proponent of the Asiatic (Biblical) origins of the Egyptians in 1776 argued that the ancient Egyptians were "degenerated" (darkened) Caucasians, a theory also supported by Georges Cuvier who in 1811 conducted one of the first scientific analyses of Egyptian mummies, writing: "I have examined, in Paris, and in the various collections of Europe, more than fifty mummies, and not one amongst them presented the characters of the Negro.[26]

Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, a surgeon and antiquarian who became one of the earliest experts on mummies, also agreed with Cuvier that the ancient Egyptian mummies were Caucasian, showing "not the slightest approximation to the Negro character".[27] Very few Egyptologists or scholars of the 19th century argued against the Caucasian identification of the Egyptians through the Asiatic Race Theory,[28] among them however was the anthropologist James Cowles Prichard who although agreed the ancient Egyptians were not 'proper' Negroid, maintained they were a "black race", more connected to the Negroid than the Caucasian race.[29]

The Caucasian racial identification of (Biblical) Mizraim and the ancient Egyptians was popularized outside scholarly literature, for example in travel books e.g. by William George Browne in his Travels in Africa, Egypt and Syria (1806).[30] Theological proponents of the Asiatic Race Theory such as John Kitto further argued that the Curse of Ham only afflicted Canaan, not Mizraim, asserting the Egyptians were racially dark Asiatic Caucasians and not Negroid.[31] The leading Egyptologist of the Asiatic Race Theory in the 19th century was John Gardner Wilkinson who argued for a literal Asiatic Caucasian ancestry for the Egyptians from Mizraim.[32] The "Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany" notes in review of Wilkinson’s book Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (1837) that the Asiatic Race Theory was the most popular view held at that time. His review stated that "In common with other writers, this gentleman considers that the ancient Egyptians were not of African extraction, but, like the Abyssinians, and other inhabitants of the Nile, of Asiatic origin. This fact he thinks demonstrated by the formation of the skull, which is decidedly Caucasian; and it will explain many points of resemblance, in manners, language, and religion between the Egyptians and Asiatics.[33]"

Other notable proponents of the Asiatic Race Theory from the 19th century included Charles Lenormant (1842) and Reginald Stuart Poole (1851). After the 1850s the theory still was widely supported by Egyptologists but was modified to fit an earlier Asiatic migration during prehistory falling outside of a literal interpretation of Biblical chronology. Jens Lieblein (1866), Franz Joseph Lauth (1869), George Rawlinson (1881), Archibald Sayce (1891) and Heinrich Karl Brugsch (1891) were later proponents of the Asiatic Race Theory but were not strict Biblical literalists like Wilkinson but nonetheless still believed the Old Testament was historically accurate, but began to theorise that the Asiatic Egyptians may have not been the first to arrive in Africa.[34] Karl Richard Lepsius writing in 1853, considered the Egyptians (and Abyssinians) to have been a 'reddish-brown' branch of the Caucasian, but sharply distinguishable from the Negroid.[35] Wilkinson, after analysing several ancient Egyptian crania concluded: "the formation of the skull, which is decidedly of the Caucasian variety, must remove all doubt of their valley having been people from the East."[36] Rawlinson after studying the hair texture of several ancient Egyptian mummies considered them to be non-Negroid, writing in his History of Egypt: "The hair was usually black and straight. In no case was it ‘woolly’, though sometimes it grew in short crisp curls."[37] He further proclaimed that the ancient Egyptians were culturally Asiatic in origin.[38]

The Asiatic Race Theory was only first seriously challenged as late as 1894 by the Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, who wrote: "the hypothesis of an Asiatic origin however attractive it may seem, is difficult to maintain."[39] In response to the increasing skepticism of the Asiatic Race Theory, various alternatives were proposed, albeit related. In his treatise Der babylonische Ursprung der ägyptischen Kultur ('The Babylonian Origin of Egyptian Culture') published in the 1890s, the Professor of Semitic languages Fritz Hommel argued that the ancient Egyptians were the descendants of the Akkadians and Babylonians. Hommel’s Babylonian theory was not popular,[40] but received some support by the archaeologist Jacques Rougé, the son of the Egyptologist Emmanuel de Rougé who argued the ancient Egyptians were Chaldeans.[41] By the 20th century the Asiatic Race Theory and its various offshoots were abandoned but were superseded by two new theories: the Hamitic Hypothesis, asserting that a Caucasian racial group moved into North and East Africa from early prehistory subsequently bringing with them all advanced agriculture, technology and civilization and also the Dynastic Race Theory, proposing that Mesopotamian invaders were responsible for the dynastic civilization of Egypt (c. 3000 BC). In sharp contrast to the Asiatic Race Theory neither of these theories propose that Caucasians were the indigenous inhabitants of Egypt, as the traditional (Biblical) Asiatic Race proponents (such as Wilkinson) maintained.[42]

Egypt has experienced several invasions during its history. Many scholars such as Frank Yurco believe that Modern Egyptians are largely representative of the ancient population, and the DNA evidence does appear to support this view.[43][44]

Hamitic hypothesisEdit

The Hamitic hypothesis developed directly from the Asiatic Race Theory which asserted the descendants of Ham through Mizraim were Caucasian.[45] However it argued that Caucasians were the inventors of agriculture and brought civilization to East Africa, not only Egypt. It also rejected any Biblical basis (despite using Hamitic as the hypothesis name).[46] The Hamitic Hypothesis was influenced by certain Asiatic Race Theory proponents who were less strict with their Biblical interpretation such as George Rawlinson and subsequently could push back the arrival of the Caucasians into Egypt to an earlier date, such as the Neolithic.[47] John Hanning Speke is widely considered to have been an early predecessor of the Hamitic Hypothesis, while Daniel Garrison Brinton’s Races and Peoples (1890) was also an influential work, but the theory was not fully developed until the early 20th century.[48]

Among the earliest proponents was the British ethnologist Charles Gabriel Seligman, who put forward the first scientific argument for the Hamitic Hypothesis in article printed in 1913.[49] Seligman argued in his Races of Africa (1930) that the ancient Egyptians were Caucasian "Nilo-Hamites" who had arrived in Egypt during early prehistory and introduced technology and agriculture to primitive natives they found there. The archaeologist Hermann Junker another notable proponent of the Hamitic Hypothesis argued that these primitive natives were Bushmen (Capoids) and not Negroids.[50] The renowned linguist Carl Meinhof also supported the Hamitic theory.

The Hamitic Hypothesis was still popular in the 1960s and late 70’s and was supported notably by Anthony John Arkell and George Peter Murdock.[51]

Caucasian race hypothesisEdit

In 1844, Samuel George Morton, one of the pioneers of scientific racialism and polygenism, published his book Crania Aegyptica with the intention of "proving" that the Ancient Egyptians were not black.[52] In 1855 George Gliddon and Josiah C. Nott published Types of Mankind with the same intention.[53] All three authors concluded that Egyptians were intermediate between the African and Asiatic races. They acknowledged that Negroes were present in ancient Egypt but claimed they were either captives or servants.[54] George Gliddon in his book Ancient Egypt: Her monuments, hieroglyphics, history and archaeology (1844) wrote: "The Egyptians were white men, of no darker hue than a pure Arab, a Jew, or a Phoenician."[55]

Mediterranean "brown" race hypothesisEdit

The Italian anthropologist Giuseppe Sergi (1901) believed that ancient Egyptians were the African (Hamitic) branch of the Mediterranean race, which he called "Eurafrican".[56] According to Sergi, the Mediterranean race or "Eurafrican" contains three varieties or sub-races, which evolved "in accordance of differing telluric and geographic conditions": the African (Hamitic) branch, the Mediterranean "proper" branch and finally the Nordic (depigmentated) branch.[57] Sergi split the African branch into two further groups: Eastern Hamites and Northern Hamites – the ancient Egyptians of whom he classified as Eastern African Hamites.[58] The Copts, Sergi considered being examples of modern Eastern Hamites, and the closest modern living group affiliated with the ancient Egyptians. Sergi maintained in summary that the Mediterranean race (excluding the depigmentated Nordic or 'white') is: "a brown human variety, neither white nor Negroid, but pure in its elements, that is to say not a product of the mixture of Whites with Negroes or Negroid peoples."[59]

Influenced by Sergi’s identification of the ancient Egyptians as the African branch of the Mediterranean race, Grafton Elliot Smith modified the theory in 1911.[60] Smith believed the ancient Egyptians were a dark haired "brown race",[61] most closely "linked by the closest bonds of racial affinity to the Early Neolithic populations of the North African littoral and South Europe".[62] This "brown race" was not Negroid, as according to Smith the hair of the "Proto-Egyptian was precisely similar to that of the brunet South European" and "presented no resemblance whatever to the so-called ‘wooly’ appearance and peppercorn-like arrangement of the Negro’s hair".[63] Smith’s "brown race" is though not synonymous or equivalent with Sergi’s Mediterranean race.[64] However both Sergi and Smith agreed that the ancient Egyptians were brunette with "brown" complexions.

Turanid race hypothesisEdit

The Egyptologist Samuel Sharpe (1846) proposed the ancient Egyptians belonged to the Turanid race, linking them to the Tatars, because some ancient Egyptian paintings depict Egyptians with sallow or yellowish skin. He said "From the colour given to the women in their paintings we learn that their skin was yellow, like that of the Mongul Tartars, who have given their name to the Mongolian variety of the human race...The single lock of hair on the young nobles reminds us also of the Tartars."[65]

Dynastic race theoryEdit

In the early 20th century, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, one of the leading Egyptologists of his day, noted that the skeletal remains found at pre-dynastic sites at Naqada (Upper Egypt) showed marked differentiation. Together with cultural evidence, such as architectural styles, pottery styles, cylinder seals, and numerous rock and tomb paintings, he deduced that a Mesopotamian force had invaded Egypt in predynastic times, imposed themselves on the local Badarian (African) people, and become their rulers. This came to be called the "Dynastic Race Theory."[66][67] The theory further argued that the Mesopotamians then conquered both Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the First Dynasty.

In the 1950s, the Dynastic Race Theory was widely accepted by mainstream scholarship, and the Ancient Egyptians were, therefore, considered to be "Asiatic" or "Semitic" rather than "African" or "Hamitic." Scholars, such as the Senegalese Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop, fought against the Dynastic Race Theory with their own "Black Egyptian" theory and claimed, among other things, that European scholars supported the Dynastic Race Theory "to avoid having to admit that Ancient Egyptians were black".[68] Bernal proposed that the Dynastic Race theory was conceived by so-called Aryan scholars to deny Egypt its African roots[69] and modern Afrocentrists continue to condemn the alleged dividing of African peoples into racial clusters as being new versions of the Dynastic Race Theory and the Hamitic hypothesis.[70]

The Dynastic Race Theory had suggested that the original people of Ancient Egypt were "of predominantly Negroid type," but that the "civilization" was inspired by outsiders.[71] Contemporary consensus tends to suggest that Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt).[67][72][73][74]

Black African hypothesisEdit

Nofret statue

Nofret, 4th Dynasty


Tiye, one of King Tut's grandmothers

Modern scholars such as W.E.B. DuBois,[75] Chancellor Williams,[76] Cheikh Anta Diop,[77][78][79] John G. Jackson,[80] Ivan van Sertima,[81] and Martin Bernal[82] all supported the theory that the Ancient Egyptian society was indigenous to Africa (or Afro-Asiatic in the case of Bernal) and a mostly Black civilization.[83] The oft criticized Journal of African Civilizations[84] has continually advocated that Egypt should be viewed as a Black civilization.[85][86]

Ahmes Nefertari Grab 10

Queen Ahmose-Nefertari

The debate was popularized throughout the 20th century by the aforementioned scholars, with many of them using the terms "Black," "African," and "Egyptian" interchangeably,[87] despite what Snowden calls "copious ancient evidence to the contrary."[88] In the mid 20th century, the proponents of the Indigenous and Black African theory presented, in the words of one author, "extensive"[89] and "painstakingly researched"[90] evidence[77][78][79] to support their views, which contrasted sharply with prevailing views on Ancient Egyptian society. Diop and others believed the prevailing views were fueled by scientific racism and based on poor scholarship.[91] Donald Redford notes that

The race and origins of the Ancient Egyptians have been a source of considerable debate. Scholars in the late and early 20th centuries rejected any considerations of the Egyptians as black Africans by defining the Egyptians either as non-African (i.e Near Easterners or Indo-Aryan), or as members of a separate brown (as opposed to a black) race, or as a mixture of lighter-skinned peoples with black Africans. In the later half of the 20th century, Afrocentric scholars have countered this Eurocentric and often racist perspective by characterizing the Egyptians as black and African.

One of the most popular indicators of race is skin color and thus the Ancient Egyptian race controversy often focused on the Ancient Egyptian's skin color. The Indigenous and Black African model relies heavily on writings from Classical Greek and Egyptian historians, as well as Hebrew and Biblical traditions. Several Ancient Greek historians noted that Egyptians and Ethiopians were black or dark skinned,[93] with woolly hair,[94] which became one of the most popular and controversial arguments for this theory. The Greek word used is “melanchroes”. While scholars such as Diop, Selincourt and George Rawlinson translate the Greek word "melanchroes" as "black", Najovits states that "Dark-skinned is the usual translation of the original Greek melanchroes",[95] as do Frank M Snowden and Alan B Lloyd. Snowden states that “Diop not only distorts his classical sources, but also omits reference to Greek and Latin authors who specifically call attention to the physical differences between Egyptians and Ethiopians.”[96] Snowden also states that Herodotus distinguished the Ethiopians from the Egyptians based on differences in their language, customs and physical characteristics.[97] Alan B Lloyd states that “melanchroes could denote any colour from bronzed to black”. He interprets the Herodotus description as “dark-skinned and curly haired”, and states that “there is no linguistic justification for relating this description to negroes”.[98]

Some of the most often quoted historians are Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Herodotus.[99] Herodotus states in a few passages that the Egyptians were black/dark (depending on the translation used.) Herodotus states that a Greek oracle was known to be from Egypt because she was "black/dark", that the natives of the Nile region are "black/dark with heat", and that Egyptians were "black/dark skinned with woolly hair".[100] Lucian observes an Egyptian boy and notices that he is not merely black/dark, but has thick lips.[101] Diodorus Siculus mentioned that the Ethiopians considered the Egyptians a colony. Appollodorus, a Greek, calls Egypt the country of the black/dark footed ones.[101] Aeschylus, a Greek poet, wrote that Egyptian seamen had "black/dark limbs."[102] Strabo mentions that the Ethiopians and Colchians (predecessors to modern Georgians of the Caucasus) are of the same race.[102] Gaston Maspero states that "by the almost unanimous testimony of ancient [Greek] historians, they [Ancient Egyptians] belonged to the African race, which settled in Ethiopia."[103]

The British Africanist Basil Davidson stated "Whether the Ancient Egyptians were as black or as brown in skin color as other Africans may remain an issue of emotive dispute; probably, they were both. Their own artistic conventions painted them as pink, but pictures on their tombs show they often married queens shown as entirely black, being from the south (from what a later world knew as Nubia): while the Greek writers reported that they were much like all the other Africans whom the Greeks knew."[104]

While at the University of Dakar, Diop used microscopic laboratory analysis to measure the melanin content of skin samples from several Egyptian mummies (from the Mariette excavations). The melanin levels found in the dermis and epidermis of that small sample led Diop to classify all the Ancient Egyptians as "unquestionably among the Black races."[105] At the UNESCO conference, Diop invited other scholars to examine the skin samples.[106][107] The other scholars at the symposium however rejected Diop’s Black-Egyptian theory.

Diop used a multi-faceted approach to counteract prevailing views on the Ancient Egyptian's origins and ethnicity. Diop and Obenga attempted to linguistically link Egypt and Africa, by arguing that the Ancient Egyptian language was related to Diop's native Wolof (Senegal).[108] Diop's work was well received by the political establishment in the post-colonial formative phase of the state of Senegal, and by the Pan-Africanist Négritude movement, but was rejected by mainstream scholarship. Diop claimed that the name (KMT, or Kemit) used by Egyptians to describe themselves, or their land (depending on your point of view), meant "Black."[109]

Diop attempted to culturally link Ancient Egypt and Africa. In biblical traditions, it is agreed that Ham (son of Noah) fathered Kush, which is also the name that the Egyptians used to refer to the Blacks in Nubia.[110] Diop notes that Ham's other offspring, Mezraim (Egypt) and Canaan, share many cultural and ethnic ties with their siblings, Kush and Phut.[111]

Diop also points to the depictions of the Egyptians in certain paintings and statues,[112] and to the cultural traits that are shared with Black Africa, such as circumcision,[113] matriarchy, totemism, and kingship cults.[77] According to Diop, historians are in general agreement that the Ethiopians, Egyptians, Colchians, and people of the Southern Levant were among the only people on Earth practicing circumcision, which confirms their cultural affiliations, if not their ethnic affiliation.[113]

In 1987 Martin Bernal produced the work "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization", in which he argued inter alia that the society of Ancient Greece was heavily influenced by Ancient Egypt, and that the roots of Ancient Greece were thus "black". The claims made in Black Athena were heavily questioned by Mary Lefkowitz, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, in her book Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth As History. The criticisms were further developedinter alia in Black Athena Revisited (1996), a collection of essays edited by Mary Lefkowitz, and her colleague Guy MacLean Rogers.[114][115] Other vocal critics include Egyptologist John D. Ray,[116] and Egyptologist James Weinstein.[117] In 2001 Bernal published "Black Athena Writes Back: Martin Bernal Responds to Critics" as a response to criticism of his earlier works.

Several anthropologists who study the biological relationships of the Ancient Egyptian population call for a recognition of Africa's genetic diversity when considering the racial identity of the Ancient Egyptians.[118]

Position of modern scholarshipEdit

Modern scholars who have studied Ancient Egyptian culture and population history have responded to the controversy over the race of the Ancient Egyptians in different ways.

Since the second half of the 20th century, most (but not all) scholars have held that applying modern notions of race to ancient Egypt is anachronistic.[119][120][121] The 2001 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt states that "Any characterization of race of the ancient Egyptians depends on modern cultural definitions, not on scientific study.”[122] The focus of some experts who study population biology has been to consider whether or not the Ancient Egyptians were primarily biologically North African rather than to which race they belonged.[123]

It is now largely agreed that Dynastic Egyptians were indigenous to the Nile area. About 5,000 years ago the Sahara area dried out, and part of the indigenous Saharan population retreated East towards the Nile Valley. In addition Neolithic farmers from the Near East are known to have entered the Nile Valley, bringing with them their food crops, sheep, goats and cattle.[124][125] Fekri Hassan and Edwin et al. point to mutual influence from both inner Africa as well as the Levant.[126]

Dynastic Egyptians referred to their country as "The Two Lands". During the Predynastic period (about 4800 to 4300BC) the Merimde culture flourished in the northern part of Egypt (Lower Egypt).[127] This culture, among others, has links to the Levant in the Near East.[128] The pottery of the later Buto Maadi culture, best known from the site at Maadi near Cairo, also shows connections to the southern Levant.[129] In the southern part of Egypt (Upper Egypt) the predynastic Badarian culture was followed by the Naqada culture. These people seem to be more closely related to the Nubians and North East Africans than with northern Egyptians.[130][131]

Due to its geographical location at the crossroads of several major cultural areas, Egypt has experienced a number of foreign invasions during historical times, including by the Canaanites (Hyksos), the Libyans, the Kushites (Nubians) the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Macedonian Greeks, the Romans, Byzantium, the Arabs, the Ottoman Turks, the French and the British.

UNESCO convened the "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script" in Cairo in 1974. At that forum the "Black Egyptian" theory was rejected by 90% of delegates,[132][133] and the symposium concluded that Ancient Egyptians were much the same as modern Egyptians. The arguments for all sides are recorded in the UNESCO publication General History of Africa,[132] with the "Origin of the Egyptians" chapter being written by Diop.

In 1996, the Indianapolis Museum of Art published a collection of essays, which included contributions from leading experts in various fields including archaeology, art history, physical anthropology, African studies, Egyptology, Afrocentric studies, linguistics, and classical studies. While the contributors differed in some opinions, the consensus of the authors was that Ancient Egypt was a North African civilization (although ethnic type was not mentioned), based on Egypt's geographic location on the African continent.[134]

In 2008, S. O. Y. Keita wrote that "There is no scientific reason to believe that the primary ancestors of the Egyptian population emerged and evolved outside of northeast Africa.... The basic overall genetic profile of the modern population is consistent with the diversity of ancient populations that would have been indigenous to northeastern Africa and subject to the range of evolutionary influences over time, although researchers vary in the details of their explanations of those influences."[135]

Specific current-day controversiesEdit

Since the 1970s, the issues regarding the race of the ancient Egyptians have been "troubled waters which most people who write (in the United States) about ancient Egypt from within the mainstream of scholarship avoid."[71] The debate, therefore, takes place mainly in the public sphere and tends to focus on a small number of specific issues.


National Geographic - King Tut face

Tutankhamun reconstruction, on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 2005.

Scholars, such as Diop, and Afrocentrists have claimed that Tutankhamun was black, and have protested that attempted reconstructions of Tutankhamun's facial features (as depicted on the cover of National Geographic Magazine) have represented the king as "too white".[136] Evidence led Chancellor Williams to believe that King Tut, his parents, and grandparents were Black.[137]

Forensic artists and physical anthropologists from Egypt, France, and the United States independently created busts of Tutankhamun, using a CT-scan of the skull. Biological anthropologist Susan Anton, the leader of the American team, said the race of the skull was "hard to call." She stated that the shape of the cranial cavity indicated an African, while the nose opening suggested narrow nostrils, which is usually considered to be a European characteristic. The skull was thus concluded to be that of a North African.[138] Other experts have argued that neither skull shapes nor nasal openings are a reliable indication of race.[139]

Although modern technology can reconstruct Tutankhamun's facial structure with a high degree of accuracy, based on CT data from his mummy,[140][141] determining his skin tone and eye color is impossible. The clay model was therefore given a flesh coloring which, according to the artist, was based on an "average shade of modern Egyptians."[142]

Terry Garcia, National Geographic's executive vice president for mission programs, said, in response to some of those protesting against the Tutankhamun reconstruction: "The big variable is skin tone. North Africans, we know today, had a range of skin tones, from light to dark. In this case, we selected a medium skin tone, and we say, quite up front, 'This is midrange.' We will never know for sure what his exact skin tone was or the color of his eyes with 100% certainty.  ... Maybe in the future, people will come to a different conclusion."[143]

When pressed on the issue by American activists in September 2007, the current Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass stated that "Tutankhamun was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilization as black has no element of truth to it;" Hawass further observed that "[Ancient] Egyptians are not Arabs and are not Africans despite the fact that Egypt is in Africa."[144] Many modern scholars disagree with the assertion that the Ancient Egyptians were not Africans.[145][146]

Ahmed Saleh, the former archaeological inspector for the Supreme Council of antiquities stated that the procedures used in the facial re-creation made Tut look Caucasian, "disrespecting the nation's African roots."[147]

In a November 2007 publication of Ancient Egypt Magazine, Hawass asserted that none of the facial reconstructions resemble Tut and that, in his opinion, the most accurate representation of the boy king is the mask from his tomb.[148] The Discovery Channel commissioned a facial reconstruction of Tutankhamun, based on CT scans of a model of his skull, back in 2002.[149][150]

Cleopatra VIIEdit


Bust of Cleopatra VII, carved in her own lifetime

Cleopatra's race and skin color have also caused frequent debate, as described in an article from The Baltimore Sun.[7] There is also an article entitled: Was Cleopatra Black? from Ebony magazine,[8] and an article about Afrocentrism from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that mentions the question, too.[9] Scholars generally suggest a light olive skin color for Cleopatra, based on the following facts: her Greek Macedonian family had intermingled with the Persian aristocracy of the time; her mother's identity is uncertain,[151] and that of her paternal grandmother is not known for certain.[152] Afrocentric assertions of Cleopatra's blackness have, however, continued.

The question was the subject of a heated exchange between Mary Lefkowitz, who has referred in her articles to a debate she had with one of her students about the question of whether Cleopatra was black, and Molefi Kete Asante, Professor of African American Studies at Temple University. In response to Not Out of Africa by Lefkowitz, Asante wrote an article entitled Race in Antiquity: Truly Out of Africa, in which he emphasized that he "can say without a doubt that Afrocentrists do not spend time arguing that either Socrates or Cleopatra were black."[153]

In 2009, a BBC documentary speculated that Arsinoe IV, the half-sister of Cleopatra VII, may have been part African and then further speculated that Cleopatra’s mother, thus Cleopatra herself, might also have been part African. This was based largely on the claims of Hilke Thür of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who in the 1990s had examined a headless skeleton of a female child in a 20 BC tomb in Ephesus (modern Turkey), together with the old notes and photographs of the now-missing skull.[154][155] Arsinoe IV and Cleopatra VII, shared the same father (Ptolemy XII Auletes) but had different mothers.[156]

Great Sphinx of GizaEdit

The identity of the model for the Great Sphinx of Giza is unknown.[157] Virtually all Egyptologists and scholars currently believe that the face of the Sphinx represents the likeness of the Pharaoh Khafra, although a few Egyptologists and interested amateurs have proposed several different hypotheses.

File:Sphinx side view.jpg

Numerous scholars, such as DuBois,[10][158][159] Diop, and Volney,[160] have characterized the face of the Sphinx as Black, or "Negroid." Around 1785 Volney stated, "When I visited the sphinx...on seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered...Herodotus says: "...the Egyptians...are black with woolly hair"..."[161] Another early description of a "Negroid" Sphinx is recorded in the travel notes of a French scholar, who visited in Egypt between 1783 and 1785, Constantin-François Chassebœuf[162] along with French novelist Gustave Flaubert.[163]

American geologist Robert M. Schoch has written that the "Sphinx has a distinctive African, Nubian, or Negroid aspect which is lacking in the face of Khafre."[11]


km in Egyptian hieroglyphs
km biliteral km.t (place) km.t (people)
<hiero>km</hiero> <hiero>km:t*O49</hiero> <hiero>km:t-A1-B1-Z3</hiero>

Ancient Egyptians referred to their homeland as "km.t" (read Kemet). The translation of "km.t." is also controversial. According to scholars such as Diop, the Egyptians referred to themselves as "Black" people, or "km.t", and "km.t" was the etymological root of other words, such as Kam or Ham, which refer to Black people in Hebrew tradition.[164][165] Cheikh Anta Diop[166] William Leo Hansberry,[166] and Aboubacry Moussa Lam[167] have argued that km.t was derived from the skin color of the Nile valley people, which Diop et al. claim was black.[93][168] The claim that the Egyptians have black skin has become a cornerstone of Afrocentric historiography,[166] but it is rejected by a strong majority of Egyptologists.[169]

Mainstream scholars hold that km.t means 'the black land' or 'the black place', and that this is a reference to the fertile black soil which was washed down from Central Africa by the annual Nile inundation. By contrast the barren desert outside the narrow confines of the Nile watercourse was called the 'red land'.[166][170] Raymond Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian translates "km.t" into "Egyptians," as do most sources.[171]

Ancient Egyptian art Edit

Ancient Egyptian tombs and temples contained thousands of paintings, sculptures, and written works, which reveal a great deal about the people of that time. However, their depictions of themselves in their surviving art and artifacts are rendered in sometimes symbolic, rather than realistic, pigments. As a result, ancient Egyptian artifacts provide sometimes conflicting and inconclusive evidence of the ethnicity of the people who lived in Egypt during dynastic times.[18][19][172][173]

Najovits states that "Egyptian art depicted Egyptians on the one hand and Nubians and other blacks on the other hand with distinctly different ethnic characteristics and depicted this abundantly and often aggressively. The Egyptians accurately, arrogantly and aggressively made national and ethnic distinctions from a very early date in their art and literature."[174] He continues that "There is an extraordinary abundance of Egyptian works of art which clearly depicted sharply contrasted reddish-brown Egyptians and black Nubians."[174]

However Manu Ampim, a professor at Merritt College specializing in African and African American history and culture, claims in the book Modern Fraud: The Forged Ancient Egyptian Statues of Ra-Hotep and Nofret, that many ancient Egyptian statues and artworks are modern frauds that have been created specifically to hide the "fact" that the ancient Egyptians were black, while authentic artworks which demonstrate black characteristics are systematically defaced or even "modified." Ampim repeatedly makes the accusation that the Egyptian authorities are systematically destroying evidence which "proves" that the ancient Egyptians were black, under the guise of renovating and conserving the applicable temples and structures. He further accuses "European" scholars of wittingly participating in and abetting this process.[175][176]

Ampim has a specific concern about the painting of the "Table of Nations" in the Tomb of Ramses III (KV11). The "Table of Nations" is a standard painting which appears in a number of tombs, and they were usually provided for the guidance of the soul of the deceased.[18][19][20] Among other things, it described the "four races of men," as follows: (translation by E.A. Wallis Budge:[20] "The first are RETH, the second are AAMU, the third are NEHESU, and the fourth are THEMEHU. The RETH are Egyptians, the AAMU are dwellers in the deserts to the east and north-east of Egypt, the NEHESU are the black races, and the THEMEHU are the fair-skinned Libyans."

The archaeologist Richard Lepsius documented many ancient Egyptian tomb paintings in his work Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien. In 1913, after the death of Lepsius, an updated reprint of the work was produced, edited by Kurt Sethe. This printing included an additional section, called the "Ergänzungsband" in German, which incorporated many illustrations that did not appear in Lepsius’ original work. One of them, plate 48, illustrated one example of each of the four "nations" as depicted in KV11, and shows the "Egyptian nation" and the "Nubian nation" as identical to each other in skin color and dress. Professor Ampim has declared that plate 48 is a true reflection of the original painting, and that it "proves" that the ancient Egyptians were identical in appearance to the Nubians, even though he admits no other examples of the "Table of Nations" show this similarity. He has further accused "Euro-American writers" of attempting to mislead the public on this issue.[177] The late Egyptologist, Dr. Frank Yurco, visited the tomb of Ramses III (KV11), and in a 1996 article on the Ramses III tomb reliefs he pointed out that the depiction of plate 48 in the Erganzungsband section is not a correct depiction of what is actually painted on the walls of the tomb. Yurco notes, instead, that plate 48 is a "pastiche" of samples of what is on the tomb walls, arranged from Lepsius' notes after his death, and that a picture of a Nubian person has erroneously been labeled in the pastiche as an Egyptian person. Yurco points also to the much-more-recent photographs of Dr. Erik Hornung as a correct depiction of the actual paintings.[178] (Erik Hornung, "The Valley of the Kings: Horizon of Eternity", 1990). Ampim nonetheless continues to claim that plate 48 shows accurately the images which stand on the walls of KV11, and he categorically accuses both Yurco and Hornung of perpetrating a deliberate deception for the purposes of misleading the public about the true race of the Ancient Egyptians.[177]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Edith Sanders: The Hamitic hypothesis: its origin and functions in time perspective, The Journal of African History, Vol. 10, No. 4 (1969), pp. 521–532
  2. ^ Donald Redford (2001) The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p. 27-28
  3. ^ Bard, in turn citing Bruce Trigger, "Nubian, Negro, Black, Nilotic?", in African in Antiquity, The Arts of Nubian and the Sudan, vol 1, 1978.
  4. ^ Frank M. Snowden Jr., Bernal's 'Blacks' and the Afrocentrists, Black Athena Revisited, p. 122
  5. ^ Donald Redford (2001) The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p. 27-28
  6. ^ "Tutankhamun was not black: Egypt antiquities chief". AFP. Google News. Sep 25, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Hugh B. Price ,"Was Cleopatra Black?". The Baltimore Sun. September 26, 1991. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Charles Whitaker ,"Was Cleopatra Black?". Ebony. Feb 2002. Retrieved May 28, 2012.  In support of this, he cites a few examples, one of which is a chapter entitled "Black Warrior Queens," published in 1984 in Black Women in Antiquity, part of The Journal of African Civilization series. It draws heavily on the work of J.A. Rogers.
  9. ^ a b Mona Charen ,"Afrocentric View Distorts History and Achievement by Blacks". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 14, 1994. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Irwin, Graham W. (1977) Africans abroad, Columbia University Press, p. 11
  11. ^ a b Robert Schoch ,"Great Sphinx Controversy". 1995. Retrieved May 29, 2012. , A modified version of this manuscript was published in the "Fortean Times" (P.O. Box 2409, London NW5 4NP) No. 79, February March, 1995, pp. 34 39.
  12. ^ "Cheikh Ante Diop: The African Origin of Civilization". Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  13. ^ (October 1833) "Original Papers: Ancient Egyptians". The New-England Magazine 0005 (4): 273–280. 
  14. ^ Volney, Constantin-François. Principes Physiques de la Morale, Déduits de l'Organisation de l'Homme et de l'Univers. p. 131
  15. ^ Champollion-Figeac, Egypte Ancienne. Paris: Collection L'Univers, 1839, p.27
  16. ^ "The Making of Egypt" (1939) states that the Land of Punt was "sacred to the Egyptians as the source of their race."
  17. ^ Short History of the Egyptian People, by E. A. Wallis Budge. Budge stated that “Egyptian tradition of the Dynastic Period held that the aboriginal home of the Egyptians was Punt…”
  18. ^ a b c
  19. ^ a b c "Book of Gates: Hour Five; gate of Set-em-Maat-f". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  20. ^ a b c "Ancient African History: The Land of Punt". Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  21. ^ "The Hamitic Hypothesis; Its Origin and Functions in Time Perspective", Edith R. Sanders, The Journal of African History, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1969, pp. 521–532.
  22. ^ The Origin of Egyptian Civilisation, Edouard Naville, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 37, 1907, p. 201.
  23. ^ James Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought (1878, p. 433) described this as the most typical view of the time: "Egypt was colonized about 130 years after the Flood by emigrant Asiatics, descendants of Ham".
  24. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 521–523.
  25. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 525.
  26. ^ Extrait d'observations faites sur le cadavre d'une femme connue à Paris et à Londres sous le nom de Vénus Hottentotte, 1811, p. 173.
  27. ^ A History of Egyptian Mummies, 1834, p. 166.
  28. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 524–527.
  29. ^ Researches Into the Physical History of Mankind, Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1837, p. 227.
  30. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 526–527.
  31. ^ Sanders, 1969, p. 527.
  32. ^ Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, John Gardiner Wilkinson, Murray, 1837, p. 2.
  33. ^ Vol. 25, p. 187, 1838.
  34. ^ Notable Proponents of the Asiatic Race Theory and their influence by the Bible are found listed by Gaston Maspero (Dawn of Civilization, 1894, p. 45) and George Rawlinson (History of Egypt, Vol. I, 1881, p. 96).
  35. ^ Discoveries in Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai in the years 1842–1845, Richard Lepsius, Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 229.
  36. ^ Wilkinson, 1837, pp. 2–3.
  37. ^ History of Egypt, Vol. I, 1881, p. 50.
  38. ^ "Neither the formation of their skulls, nor their physiognomy, nor their complexion nor the quality of their hair, nor the general proportion of their frames connect them in any way with the indigenous African races." – History of Egypt, Vol. I, 1881, pp. 96–97.
  39. ^ Dawn of Civilization, M. L McClure, 1894, p. 45 quoted in The Origin of Egyptian Civilisation, Edouard Naville, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 37, 1907, p. 201.
  40. ^ Gaston Maspero (1894, p. 45) discredited Hommel’s theory as 'extreme'.
  41. ^ Origine de la Race Egyptienne, Paris, 1895.
  42. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 524-527ff.
  43. ^
  44. ^ Yurco, Frank "An Egyptological Review" in Black Athena Revisited 1996
  45. ^ "The Hamitic Hypothesis; Its Origin and Functions in Time Perspective", Edith R. Sanders, The Journal of African History, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1969, pp. 524–529.
  46. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp.525–532.
  47. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 527–530.
  48. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 528–530.
  49. ^ Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. xliii, 1913.
  50. ^ The First Appearance of the Negroes in History, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 7, No. ¾, Oct.; 1921, pp. 121–132.
  51. ^ Sanders, 1969, pp. 531; MacGaffey, 1966, pp.5–9.
  52. ^ Trafton, Scott (2004). Egypt Land: Race and Nineteenth-century American Egyptomania. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3362-7.,M1. 
  53. ^ "General Remarks on "Types of Mankind"". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  54. ^ Morton, Samuel George (1844). "Egyptian Ethnography".,M1. 
  55. ^ George Robins Gliddon Ancient Egypt: Her monuments, hieroglyphics, history and archaeology 1844, p. 46
  56. ^ In Sergi’s classification the "Eurafrican" or Mediterranean race was synonymous for Caucasians, as he rejected the traditional idea of the Meditterenean race being a sub type within the Caucasian race.
  57. ^ The Mediterranean Race: a Study of the Origins of European Peoples, 1901, pp. v–vi, ‘‘Preface’’.
  58. ^ Sergi, 1901, p. 45.
  59. ^ Sergi, 1901, p. 250.
  60. ^ "Concepts of Race in the Historiography of Northeast Africa" , Wyatt MacGaffey, The Journal of African History, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1966.
  61. ^ The Ancient Egyptians and the origin of Civilization, 1911, p. 69.
  62. ^ Smith, 1911, p. 25.
  63. ^ Smith, 1911, p. 58.
  64. ^ "Neither in Sergi’s nor in Elliot Smith’s scheme are Brown and Mediterranean equivalent terms." – MacGaffey, 1966, p. 4.
  65. ^ History of Egypt, 1846, Part I, p. 3 "The Asiatic Origin of the Race.
  66. ^ Black Athena revisited, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers, pg65.,+%2Bpetrie&source=bl&ots=ZRI64NiDsF&sig=n1JXM0vMESuA04qKW8me7HZD074&hl=en&ei=rzOdSu3lDc2c8Qb6rdHGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=%2B%22dynastic%20race%20theory%22%2C%20%2Bpetrie&f=false. 
  67. ^ a b Early dynastic Egypt, by Toby A. H. Wilkinson, pg 15
  68. ^ Epic encounters: culture, media, and U.S. interests in the Middle East – 1945–2000 by Melani McAlister
  69. ^ Black Athena revisited, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers
  70. ^ History of Philosophy (3 Vols. Set), by William Turner, pg 8
  71. ^ a b Ancient Egypt: anatomy of a civilization, by Barry J. Kemp, pg 47
  72. ^ Prehistory and Protohsitory of Egypt, Emile Massoulard, 1949
  73. ^ Frank Yurco, "An Egyptological Review" in Mary R. Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers, eds. Black Athena Revisited. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. pp. 62–100
  74. ^ Sonia R. Zakrzewski: Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state – Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton (2003)
  75. ^ DuBois, W.E.B. (2003). The World and Africa. New York: International Publishers. pp. 81–147. ISBN 0-7178—0221-3. 
  76. ^ Williams, Chancellor (1987). The Destruction of Black Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Third World Press. pp. 59–135. ISBN 0-88378-030-5. 
  77. ^ a b c Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 1–9,134–155. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  78. ^ a b Diop, Cheikh Anta (1981). Civilization or Barbarism. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 103–108. ISBN 1-55652-048-4. 
  79. ^ a b Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 1–118. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  80. ^ Jackson, John G. (1970). Introduction to African Civilizations. New York, NY, USA: Citadel Press. pp. 60–156. ISBN 0-8065-2189-9. 
  81. ^ Sertima, Ivan Van (1985). African Presence in Early Asia. New Brunswick, USA: Transaction Publishers. pp. 59–65, 177–185. ISBN 0-88738-637-7. 
  82. ^ Bernal, Martin (1987). Black Athena. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. pp. 63–75, 98–101, 439–443. ISBN 0-8135-1277-8. 
  83. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 31–32, 46, 52. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  84. ^ Muhly: "Black Athena versus Traditional Scholarship," Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 3, no 1: 83–110
  85. ^ Snowden p. 117
  86. ^ Homepage of the Journal of African Civilizations
  87. ^ Snowden p.116 of Black Athena Revisited"
  88. ^ Snowden p. 116
  89. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  90. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. p. 55. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  91. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 1–9, 24–84. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  92. ^ Donald Redford (2001) The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p. 27-28
  93. ^ a b Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 21, 26. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  94. ^ Herodotus (2003). The Histories. London, England: Penguin Books. pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0-14-044908-2. 
  95. ^ 'Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, A Modern Survey of an Ancient Land, Vol. 2. by Simson Najovits pg 319
  96. ^ Frank M Snowden, in “Bernal’s “Blacks” and the Afrocentrists”, in Black Athena Revisited, pg 119, at,+Black+Athena+Revisited&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dufpT63kDoK4hAeLw4WVDQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=melanchroes&f=false
  97. ^ Frank M Snowden, in “Bernal’s “Blacks” and the Afrocentrists”, in Black Athena Revisited, pg 118, at,+Black+Athena+Revisited&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dufpT63kDoK4hAeLw4WVDQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=melanchroes&f=false
  98. ^ “Herodotus”, by Alan Brian Lloyd, pg 22 at,+melanchroes&hl=en&sa=X&ei=C-XpT_j0Msi7hAeSu52DDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=melanchroes&f=false
  99. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 15–60. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  100. ^ Herodotus (2003). The Histories. London, England: Penguin Books. pp. 103, 119, 134–135, 640. ISBN 978-0-14-044908-2. 
  101. ^ a b Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  102. ^ a b Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. p. 26. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  103. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. p. 2. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  104. ^ Davidson, Basil (1991). African Civilization Revisited: From Antiquity to Modern Times. Africa World Press. 
  105. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 236–243. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  106. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 20, 37. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  107. ^ Chris Gray, Conceptions of History in the Works of Cheikh Anta Diop and Theophile Obenga, (Karnak House:1989) 11–155
  108. ^ Alain Ricard, Naomi Morgan, The Languages & Literatures of Africa: The Sands of Babel, James Currey, 2004, p.14
  109. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 27, 38, 40. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  110. ^ Snowden, Frank (1983). Before Color Prejudice. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-674-06380-5. 
  111. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  112. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 6–42. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  113. ^ a b Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 112, 135–138. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  114. ^ "Black Athena Revisited". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  115. ^ "Black Athena Revisited (9780807845554): Mary R. Lefkowitz: Books". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  116. ^ Interview with John Ray, at 5:29,
  117. ^ Interview with James Weinstein, at 2:16,
  118. ^ S.O.Y Keita & A.J. Boyce: "The Geographical Origins and Population Relationships of Early Ancient Egyptians", Egypt in Africa, (1996), pp. 25–27
  119. ^ ”The old-fashioned chimerical concept of “race” is hopelessly inadequate to deal with the human biological reality of Egypt, ancient or modern.” C.L. Brace, “Clines and Clusters vs Race”, Black Athena Revisited, pg 162 at,+egyptian,+race&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TMrpT9r_Ecy0hAekt_WCDQ&ved=0CGYQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=brace%2C%20egyptian%2C%20race&f=false
  120. ^ “Contemporary physical anthropologists recognise … that race is not a useful biological concept when applied to humans.” Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, by Kathryn A. Bard, pg 329, at,+egyptian,+race&hl=en&sa=X&ei=k8npT-K7NYanhAf6qdX1DA&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=race&f=false
  121. ^ “This latter proposition, denying that the language of race has any scientific validity, was given the official imprimatur of the United Nations in the postwar UNESCO Statement on Race.” - Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes - by Stephen Howe, pg 19, at,+egypt,+anachronistic,+bard&hl=en&sa=X&ei=W2PnT5epNMLMhAeF8Zi9CQ&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAQ#v=snippet&q=race&f=false
  122. ^ Donald Redford (2001) The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p. 27-28
  123. ^ S.O.Y. Keita (1995). "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships". International Journal of Anthropology 10 (2–3): 107–123. DOI:10.1007/BF02444602. 
  124. ^ USA. "Ancient Egyptian Origins". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  125. ^
  126. ^ Edwin C. M et. al, "Egypt and the Levant", pp514
  127. ^ Bogucki, Peter I. (1999). The origins of human society. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 355. ISBN 1-57718-112-3. 
  128. ^ Josef Eiwanger: Merimde Beni-salame, In: Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Compiled and edited by Kathryn A. Bard. London/New York 1999, p. 501-505
  129. ^ Jürgen Seeher. Ma'adi and Wadi Digla. in: Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Compiled and edited by Kathryn A. Bard. London/New York 1999, 455–458
  130. ^ Zakrzewski, Sonia (2007). "Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132 (4): 501–9. DOI:10.1002/ajpa.20569. PMID 17295300. 
  131. ^ Hunting for the Elusive Nubian A-Group People – by Maria Gatto,
  132. ^ a b UNESCO, "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script; Proceedings," (Paris: 1978), pp. 3–134
  133. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 31–60. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  134. ^ http://ngm.nationalgeed)
  135. ^ Keita, S.O.Y. (Sep 16, 2008). "Ancient Egyptian Origins:Biology". National Geographic. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  136. ^ "King Tut Not Black Enough, Protesters Say". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  137. ^ Williams, Chancellor (1987). The Destruction of Black Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Third World Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-88378-030-5. 
  138. ^ "A New Look at King Tut". Washington Post. 2005-05-11. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  139. ^ "Skull Indices in a Population Collected From Computed Tomographic Scans of Patients with Head Trauma". 2012-01-05. doi:10.1097/SCS.0b013e31819b9f6e.;jsessionid=Jh5hhbQkjv93xhGQSCLy5MFzgL54nCLTrTS7ZTn8G2671lXLTNDv!1553038018!181195628!8091!-1. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  140. ^ "discovery reconstruction". 
  141. ^ "Science museum images". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  142. ^ "King Tut's New Face: Behind the Forensic Reconstruction". 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  143. ^ Henerson, Evan (June 15, 2005). "King Tut's skin colour a topic of controversy". U-Daily News — L.A. Life.,1413,211~23523~2921859,00.html. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  144. ^ "Tutankhamun was not black: Egypt antiquities chief". AFP. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  145. ^ Emberling, Geoff (2011). Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa. New York, NY: The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. pp. 6–8, 30–32. ISBN 978-0-615-48102-9. 
  146. ^ Teeter, Emily (2011). Before the Pyramids. Chicago, Illinois: Oriental Institute Museum Publications. pp. 8–272. ISBN 978-1-885923-82-0. 
  147. ^ Mike Boehm Eternal Egypt is his business, Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Jun. 20, 2005
  148. ^ Ancient Egypt Magazine, Issue 44, October / November 2007, Meeting Tutankhamun. AFP (Ancient Egypt Magazine). [1]
  149. ^ "File:Tutmask.jpg - Wikimedia Commons". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  150. ^ "Tutankhamun: beneath the mask". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  151. ^ Tyldesley, p. 30, suggests Cleopatra V as the most likely candidate.
  152. ^ Tyldesley p. 32
  153. ^ Race in Antiquity: Truly Out of Africa By Molefi Kete Asante
  154. ^ Foggo, Daniel (2009-03-15). "Found the sister Cleopatra killed". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  155. ^ Cleopatra's mother 'was African' – BBC (2009)
  156. ^ "The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia", By Sarah Fielding, Christopher D. Johnson, pg154, Bucknell University Press, ISBN 0-8387-5257-8, ISBN 978-0-8387-5257-9
  157. ^ Hassan, Selim (1949). The Sphinx: Its history in the light of recent excavations. Cairo: Government Press, 1949.
  158. ^ Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt (1915). The Negro. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915).
  159. ^ Black man of the Nile and his family, by Yosef Ben-Jochannan, pp. 109–110
  160. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 27, 43. ISBN 978-1-55652-072-3. 
  161. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-55652-072-3. 
  162. ^ Constantin-François Chassebœuf saw the Sphinx as "typically negro in all its features"; Volney, Constantin-François de Chasseboeuf, Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, Paris, 1825, page 65
  163. ^ "...its head is grey, ears very large and protruding like a negro’s...the fact that the nose is missing increases the flat, negroid effect. Besides, it was certainly Ethiopian; the lips are thick.." Flaubert, Gustave. Flaubert in Egypt, ed. Francis Steegmuller. (London: Penguin Classics, 1996). ISBN 978-0-14-043582-5.
  164. ^ Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa II: Ancient Civilizations of Africa. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-520-06697-9. 
  165. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 246–248. ISBN 1-55652-072-7. 
  166. ^ a b c d Shavit 2001: 148
  167. ^ Aboubacry Moussa Lam, "L'Égypte ancienne et l'Afrique", in Maria R. Turano et Paul Vandepitte, Pour une histoire de l'Afrique, 2003, pp. 50 &51
  168. ^ Herodotus (2003). The Histories. London, England: Penguin Books. pp. 134–135, 640. ISBN 978-0-14-044908-2. 
  169. ^ Bard, Kathryn A. "Ancient Egyptians and the Issue of Race". in Lefkowitz and MacLean rogers, p. 114
  170. ^ Kemp, Barry J. (2006). Ancient Egypt: Anatomy Of A Civilization. Routledge. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-415-06346-3.,M1. 
  171. ^ Raymond Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Oxford: Griffith Institute, 2002, p. 286.
  172. ^ Charlotte Booth,The Ancient Egyptians for Dummies (2007) p. 217
  173. ^ Biological and Ethnic Identity in New Kingdom Nubia
  174. ^ a b 'Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, A Modern Survey of an Ancient Land, Vol. 2. by Simson Najovits pg 318
  175. ^ "Ra-Hotep and Nofret: Modern Forgeries in the Cairo Museum?" pp. 207–212 in Egypt: Child of Africa (1994), edited by Ivan Van Sertima.
  176. ^ "A F R I C A N A S T U D I E S". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  177. ^ a b "Africana Studies . Tomb of Rameses III". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  178. ^ Frank Yurco, "Two Tomb-Wall Painted Reliefs of Ramesses III and Sety I and Ancient Nile Valley Population Diversity," in Egypt in Africa (1996), ed. by Theodore Celenko.


  • Mary R. Lefkowitz: "Ancient History, Modern Myths", originally printed in The New Republic, 1992. Reprinted with revisions as part of the essay collection Black Athena Revisited, 1996.
  • Kathryn A. Bard: "Ancient Egyptians and the issue of Race", Bostonia Magazine, 1992: later part of Black Athena Revisited, 1996.
  • Frank M. Snowden, Jr.: "Bernal's "Blacks" and the Afrocentrists", Black Athena Revisited, 1996.
  • Joyce Tyldesley: "Cleopatra, Last Queen of Egypt", Profile Books Ltd, 2008.
  • Alain Froment, 1994. "Race et Histoire: La recomposition ideologique de l'image des Egyptiens anciens." Journal des Africanistes 64:37–64. available online: Race et Histoire (French)
  • Yaacov Shavit, 2001: History in Black. African-Americans in Search of an Ancient Past, Frank Cass Publishers
  • Anthony Noguera, 1976. How African Was Egypt?: A Comparative Study of Ancient Egyptian and Black African Cultures. Illustrations by Joelle Noguera. New York: Vantage Press.
  • Shomarka Keita: "The Geographical Origins and Population Relationships of Early Ancient Egyptians", Egypt in Africa, (1996), pp. 25–27

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Ancient Egyptian race controversy. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.