Ramesses The Red

10 Commandments Movie Poster with Yul Brynner

10 Commandments Movie Poster with Yul Brynner

Original Image

It just wouldn’t have been the same with a Redhead like, oh, Conan O’Brien playing the Pharaoh… but might have been more authentic.

OK, I’m finding this out a bit late. Most of the articles have a date stamp of a year ago, some even older. So if you already know this, please forgive… but I didn’t know it… so it’s all new to me, and a bit “odd”…

It seems that several of the Pharaohs of Egypt were Redheads.
For generations.

Now in The Bible we have a Redhead in Esau ( as in the brother of Jacob) and King David is reputed to have had red hair. The Berbers, for some tribes, along the north cost of Africa have an incidence of Redheads about the same as the Irish, and I’ve had it asserted that the Phoenicians were Redheads…

So I’m starting to get this picture of 2000 BC with a whole lot of European Redhead type folks running around North Africa and the Mediterranean including Egypt. Not quite the same image you would expect from looking at the often uniform black hair Arabic look common in Egypt today.

Now this ought not to be too big a surprise, as we’ve had folks moving in droves all over the world in time periods of 100 or so years for a few thousand years now. Things change, and we’ve had plagues and military adventures galore wipe out whole populations that got filled in from somewhere else. Frankly, that’s part of why I find the Redhead Gene interesting as it’s fairly easy to spot that population. It’s a recessive trait, so if you’ve got a Redhead you pretty much know what you’ve got.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair

Red hair (also referred to as titian or ginger hair) varies from a deep burgundy through burnt orange to bright copper. It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. People with red hair are often referred to as redheads or gingers and in Australian slang as bluey or blue. Approximately 1% to 2% of the human population has red hair. It occurs more frequently (between 2% and 6% of the population) in northern and western Europeans, and their descendants, and at lower frequencies throughout other parts of the world. Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein. It is associated with fair skin color, lighter eye colors (gray, blue, green, and hazel), freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.

Yeah, we stand out… ( I’m one of those folks with “Dark Ash Blond” hair with red highlights (per the Clairol color chart) but with a red beard. At least, before it started turning white… And I’ve got the typical set of redhead gene artifacts including freckles, pale skin that never tans, sunburn if I leave the refrigerator door open too long making a selection, and blue eyes. And the genetics are very clear and leave easily measured markers in the melanin type.

So over the years I’ve kept an eye open for notable Redheads. When they found redhead mummies in central asia wearing tartan, that was interesting too. ( Here’s a random link for folks wanting to know more about them that includes this bit “The two Xinjiang mummies belonged to the same genetic lineage as most modern-day Swedes, Finns, Tuscans, Corsicans, and Sardinians.” )

Furthermore, in South America the legend was that a Redhead had come to teach them things, then left, but promised to return. Both places have pyramids. So it starts to look like maybe that hypothetical Egyptian connection could have a bit more evidence showing up. The Egyptians had some very large ships and it’s not all THAT far to cross the Atlantic.

But still, somehow the idea of a Redhead playing the Pharoah instead of Yul Brynner just seems a bit odd…

Ok, some links. These are semi-random results of just doing a Google, so no endorsement from me (some of them seem to have a bit of a racist tone to them), while I’m more interested in the vision of a Redheaded Cleopatra ;-) or at least, that’ what the Washington Post said:


Helen of Troy was a redhead. Cleopatra was a redhead. The ancient goddess of love, Aphrodite, was a redhead. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” (“Venus on the Half Shell”) shows a redhead. Titian painted so many redheads, his name became a label for a particular kind of red.
Columbus was a redhead. As was Isabella of Spain. Leif Ericson found the continent ahead of them, and Thomas Jefferson shaped up America afterward. Redheads also count among their number Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Catherine the Great, Charlemagne, Winston Churchill, Hernando Cortes, Oliver Cromwell, Ponce de Leon, the Marquis de Sade, Queen Elizabeth I, Galileo, Vladimir Lenin, Mary, Queen of Scots, kings of Sweden, France, Germany, Bavaria, Austria, Scotland, Ireland and Persia, and eight kings of England, including Henry VIII and William the Conqueror, according to “The Redhead Encyclopedia” by Stephen Douglas.

And it was in the newspaper so it must be true ;-)

But I guess with Cousins like that, we could expect a Pharoah or two…


Microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II’s hair proved that the original color of the king’s hair was once red which suggests that he came from a family of redheads. This has more than just cosmetic significance; in ancient Egypt, people with red hair were associated with the god Seth, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II’s father, Seti I, means “follower of Seth.”

In other links I’ve seen it reported that Seti I was also a Redhead. So Ramesses’ mother would have been at least a carrier of the gene too. You need two copies to have the red hair expressed.


Professor P. F. Ceccaldi, with a research team behind him, studied some hairs which were removed from the mummy’s scalp. Ramesses II was 90 years-old when he died, and his hair had turned white. Ceccaldi determined that the reddish-yellow colour of the mummy’s hair had been brought about by its being dyed with a dilute henna solution; it proved to be an example of the cosmetic attentions of the embalmers. However, traces of the hair’s original colour (in youth), remain in the roots, even into advanced old age. Microscopic examinations proved that the hair roots contained traces of natural red pigments, and that therefore, during his youth, Ramesses II had been red-haired. It was concluded that these red pigments did not result from the hair somehow fading, or otherwise altering post-mortem, but did indeed represent Ramesses’ natural hair colour. Ceccaldi also studied a cross-section of the hairs, and he determined from their oval shape, that Ramesses had been “cymotrich” (wavy-haired). Finally, he stated that such a combination of features showed that Ramesses had been a “leucoderm” (white-skinned person). [Balout, et al. (1985) 254-257.]

Balout and Roubet were under no illusions as to the significance of this discovery, and they concluded as follows:

“After having achieved this immense work, an important scientific conclusion remains to be drawn: the anthropological study and the microscopic analysis of hair, carried out by four laboratories: Judiciary Medecine (Professor Ceccaldi), Société L’Oréal, Atomic Energy Commission, and Institut Textile de France showed that Ramses II was a ‘leucoderm’, that is a fair-skinned man, near to the Prehistoric and Antiquity Mediterraneans, or briefly, of the Berber of Africa.” [Balout, et al. (1985) 383.]

It is interesting to note the link to the North African Berbers: some Berber tribes, such as the Riffians of the Atlas Mountains, have incidences of blondism reaching almost 60%, and they have a percentage of red-haired people which is comparable to that of the Irish. [Coon & Hunt (1966) 116-117.]

And a bit further down:

Her speculations have been proved correct: Dr. Joann Fletcher, a consultant to the British Bioanthropology Foundation, has proved that Seti I (the father of Ramesses II), had red hair. [Parks (2000).] It has also been demonstrated that the mummy of Pharaoh Siptah (a great-grandson of Ramesses II), has red hair. [Partridge (1994) 169.]

So it looks like there were a fair number of Pharaohs with red hair. (Though it is worth noting that there is some quibbling over Cleopatra and she was of Greek origin originally as a Ptolomy).

These folks have some interesting comments, even if they have a garish sense of color… and like to voyage off into vodo and mind control… one can only hope their data are verifiable on who’s a Red…


Egyptian Female Pharaoh: Queen Hatshepsut, wife of Pharaoh Thutmosis II. The mummy which Egyptologists have identified as Queen Hatshepsut is displayed at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. She ruled Egypt after Thutmosis’ death in 1520 BC. Her long hair and facial structure has been well preserved by the embalming process of the time. American Egyptologist Donald P. Ryan excavated her tomb, in the Valley of the Kings, during the course of 1989. Ryan describes the mummy as follows:

“The mummy was mostly unwrapped and on its back. Strands of reddish-blond hair lay on the floor beneath the head.” [Ibid., p. 87.]

So a bit of look for some verification on Hatshepsut might be in order… FWIW, the color of slightly darker mummified hair can sometimes fade to a red color even if the person was not naturally red headed. You must look at the pigments themselves to be sure.

A well preserved body from the pre-dynastic period in Egypt, circa 3,300 BC. Buried in a sand grave, the natural dryness of the surroundings kept the body preserved. His red hair have been so well preserved that he has been given the nickname “Ginger” at the British Museum where he is kept on display.

After the Human Tissue Act 2004, the British Museum has developed policies for ethical treatment of human remains and no longer uses the nickname famously known as “Ginger”.

Despite the refusal of the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, to release any DNA results which might indicate the racial ancestry of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, the leaked results reveal that King Tut’s DNA is a 99.6 percent match with Western European Y chromosomes.

The DNA test results were inadvertently revealed on a Discovery Channel TV documentary filmed with Hawass’s permission — but it seems as if the Egyptian failed to spot the giveaway part of the documentary which revealed the test results.
Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations, for example R1b or R1b1. Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups have different haplogroup designations. In essence, haplogroups give an inisight into ancestral origins dating back thousands of years.

By entering all the STR data inadvertently shown on the Discovery video, a 99.6 percent fit with the R1b haplogroup is revealed.

The significance is, of course, that R1b is the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup in Europe reaching its highest concentrations in Ireland, Scotland, western England and the European Atlantic seaboard — in other words, European through and through… refugees from Atlantis, and NOT “out-of-Africa”.


That last link includes the text quoted above, so it looks like the first article largely just lifted it from the link.

OK, some of the links run off to wacky ideas, but they look like they include references to justify their claims per Redheads (and that’s the only part of what they have to say that I’m really interested in.)

What I find fascinating is that there were so many Redheads running around in a place that is now very hot, sunny, and dominated by folks with dark hair. Was the whole population more “Celtic” in look? Or just a royal family or two? Or was Egypt just a precursor of our modern “melting pot” with people picked up from all over the Mediterranean and North Africa? The temple drawings show many folks of various shades of skin and hair. Perhaps we’ve lived in a mixed genetic “salad” for thousands of years… Or perhaps then, as now, “Gingers” liked to run off to sunny places like Australia and Brazil, California and Florida; for a bit of warmth in the shade ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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41 Responses to Ramesses The Red

  1. Nick says:

    Or they used Henna

  2. neil swallow says:

    or the origins of the redheads are explained in the book the oera linda.these northern people seem to have been adopted as kings queens and gods by most other people they met .athena was supposed to be one.they were a matriarchal society and that ties in well with all ancient prehistory The Oera Linda Book
    by Wiliam R. Sandbach http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/olb/index.htm regards neil

  3. neil swallow says:

    the response by proffessor Zahi Hawass to releasing Tuts dna is not surprising.the release of such information would not help him get back many of the stolen artefacts that lie in museums around the world.add to that the fact egyptology at present is the foundation stone of western chronology.nothing will be allowed to challenge that concensus despite evidence to the contrary.i sympathise with his desires to repatriate his country,s ancient artworks but the guy comes across as a megalomaniac in my opinion.any documentary about ancient egypt has to feature him in it or permission will not be given to make it .he claims to have discovered just about everything never any of his underlings or foreigners.you only have to see some of the sites to realise that a fat git like him could never have gained access through such small tunnels.regards neil

  4. H.R. says:

    I just finished up a book in December titled, The Celts (The People Who Came Out Of the Darkness), by Gerhard Herm (Barnes & Noble Books, 1993).

    The Celts’ origins are not settled, but there is some interesting evidence that they were a nomadic Indo-European people when first recognized as the prcursors of the people called the Celts.

    They’re so hard to pin down because they were so mobile, yet some among them would be content to stay in a conquered place as most of the others moved on. Their early economic system was just to go take what they wanted from the next place over from where they were.

    The information E.M. has rounded up fits in nicely with what Herr Herm wrote; the origins of the Celts keeps getting pushed farther and farther back, and as they were a very far-ranging people, it should be no surprise when they turn up in far-flung places.

  5. pascvaks says:

    People with light to “blond” or “light” hair are thought to be very “cold”, people with “bronze” or “auburn” hair are believed to be very “warm” –some ancient association with “fire” I think. People with “black” or very “dark” hair are not special in any way, they’re just like everybody else.

    Now, when you get these genetic variations… well that’s a birds & bees story we don’t really need to get into now.. So, the “net” result of variation in skin and hair color is that these are considered special people, touched by the gods, good omens from on high, like a rabbit’s foot, or a gold nugget. Needless to say they did have a “special” knack for surviving better in cold climates with not too much good old sunshine; something about vitamin D.

    This only serves to verify what Celts have always known. They were the first to conquer the World (I didn’t say “inhabit”). Just look at the natives from Oz (‘DownUnderLand’), yep!, red hair. By the way, Genghis Kahn’s real name was “Jerry McCain”. And Eve had red hair too; no one else would have had the nerve to eat that damn apple.

  6. H.R. says:


    This only serves to verify what Celts have always known. They were the first to conquer the World (I didn’t say “inhabit”). […]”

    I’d tend to strongly agree with that.

    It would be fascinating to know what two little bands of people – amazing physical specimens for their time – got together to establish the Celts.

    One interesting thing about the Celts is their technology. The earliest Celts seemed to have a talent for recognizing useful technology and the smarts and skill to take it a step further.

    For example, they may or may not have been the inventors of the chariot- up in the air on that one. What else would a mobile people tinker with but a way to move themselves about more easily? If they didn’t invent it outright, they improved on it and spread the technology around. Way back when, once you’ve seen a chariot, the lightbulb pops on and it doesn’t take much to figure out how to make one for yourself.

    Think of one of the early Pharoh’s: “Hey! These people just came in here on those funny contraptions, whupped us good, and took off with our grain and gold. Ya’ll get busy right now and make us some of those things.”

    They also displayed a talent with metalworking as it related to weaponry and came up with some unique weapons suited to their preferred fighting style. Who’s to say they weren’t the ones who put two and two together and came up with bronze? Did they figure out how to make steel because it made better swords or did they just adopt and spread the knowledge of steelmaking?

    The Celts may well be the ‘virus’ that spread technology and civilization around the world.

    The other odd think about the Celts was that some of them were homebodies. At many places, some of the Celts would stay and settle down. Were they assigned to stay to govern a conquered place? Or did they just announce to the group that “We’re tired of the Road Warrior thing and we’re just gonna park our Winnebago and stay here. Ya’ll go on now and don’t forget to write.” Evidence says both reasons are probably true, but again, if things went south they had no qualms about packing up and moving on. The Celts have the mobility gene.

    The Celts are fascinating and many acareer has been spent studying them, untold numbers of trees have been turned into paper to write about them, yet no one has been able to completely peg them. Perhaps we’ll have some success now that DNA technology is available.

  7. j ferguson says:

    I’m another one, round face, red hair (when there still was some), blue eyes, freckles. Daughter is classic cupcake face with bright red hair – looked at 10 years old identical to girl in audience in the very great Ingmar Bergman filmed “Magic Flute.”

    What seems to come with the appearance is a genetic compulsion to run the place…..Danes, Normans, Tudors, Chiefio???

    I reject the theory out of hand that anyone gets into the Pharaoh business without this compulsion, no matter how impressive their appearance might have been to the locals. No one, except a Windsor gets to be king without wanting it.

    One might wonder if there is a disproportionate frequency of “A” types among the red-heads.

  8. dearieme says:

    I dare say I’m largely a Celt too. That doesn’t stop me laughing at all this sort of stuff as tosh.

  9. pascvaks says:

    Ref – dearieme

    (It’s called blarney;-)

  10. j ferguson says:

    Well it wasn’t only in dark antiquity. You must have read “How the Scots Invented the Modern World?” Twice, you say?

    Dearieme, surely you were the recommender of the James Hogg tome, sometimes known as “Confessions of a Suicide.” No doubt a Celtic work.

    Someday, it might be interesting to find out what was wrong with home. Why were these guys all over the western world?

    Maybe escaping a matriarchal society? Maybe home is where the role of SWMBO was invented. If your genes made you want to run the place and you couldn’t at home, better head south.

  11. Tony says:

    @nick ….

    Maybe henna was a way of simulating red hair, as a staus thing?

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    They specifically looked for that, and yes, some of the white part had been colored with Henna; BUT, they also found natural red pigments in the roots. That was stated in the discussion of the hair analysis.

    @J Ferguson:

    I suspect it may be related to the reputed Redhead tendency to be a bit hot headed too ;-)

    My own pet theory, supported by nothing other than an admiration for beer (shared, I might add, with the Ancient Egyptians…) is that the Redhead Gene comes with a tendency to be a bit too overstimulated (from too thin a cell wall) and while a bit of alcohol thickens the cell wall to more ‘normal’ a bit too much and folks get drunk. But for Reds that tends to come a bit later than for most (thus my assertion that the normal state is a bit too “on”…) This would then implythat during normal day to day things the nerves are tending to fire off quicker and easier. Makes for fast thinking (and perhaps a bit more fire in the emotional response from time to time?) but at the expense of calm and consistency (and perhaps also, for some, a tendency to ‘run down’ the energy stores unnecessarily…)

    So take a big, slighly cranky guy, who’s a tad faster and a bit drunk… Yeah, that sounds like most kings ;-)

    But me? Wanting to take over the world? Naahhh… unless you think it would help? ;-)


    Shush! You’ll tip my hand! ;-)

    Honestly, I do find the potential for Redhead Pharoahs to be fascinating, but not a big deal, and I’d guess that some of those links “stretched the evidence” a bit. But the more mainline data, such as that Ramesses hair analysis, is pretty clear. He had red hair, as did some of his relatives.

    But why? Well, I really suspect it’s just Redheads Revenge… The gene tends to ‘tunnel’ as a recessive trait and pop up a generation or three later when another recessive shows up. (Thus the “redhead stepchild” jokes). So you have Ruler Of The World with a harem, and you don’t think he’s had a few “gifts” of something special, a redhead, from the provences?

    Then just run the clock forward a royal inbreeding generation or two and, viola, two recessive carriers match up…

    FWIW, you can see some of this same thing today in the Saudi and Jordanian Royals. They picked up some European “eye candy” and now it’s showing in some of the princes… Queen Noor of Jordan was American born and with a dark blond look. Princess Haya picked it up from mom and is now married to a Sheihk of Dubai.. Can’t find a picture of the Saudi, but I saw an interview with a couple of the princes once and one of them had a clearly redish beard… don’t know which one.

    Now your average peasant can’t get a little something “special” for the weekends, so the general population does not change. But the royal line does…


    It’s not at all Blarney! I have it on good authority and every word is absolutely true, I swear on me mothers grave! (And would you be having a bit of a nip in that pocket o’ yours?… ;-)

    Yes, it “snuggles up” to the edge of the knowable. But what is found there is rather interesting… But really, given that 2% or so of most populations are redheads, you do expect them to show up from time to time. Even in ancient times…

  13. John F. Hultquist says:

    Sister, brother, cousins, uncles on both sides of my family were or are called ‘Red’, but not me. Ours all comes from northern Europe. Where before the last glacial? Who knows? Modern forensic techniques still report very fuzzy results.

  14. boballab says:

    I think what will eventually come about is that finally the “mainstream” in archeology will have to admit they don’t know as much as they have let on, as more of these “outlier” events happen. You remember cities in Turkey, Jordan and northern Israel dating back thousands of years before there was supposed to be cities there.

    The thing about cities is: they don’t feed themselves. They have to trade for food and once you start trade it typically spans out from there. The crafters of tools and goods in the city, trade for food and accumulate wealth. They have the tendency then to want to get luxuries and rare items, which means trade with distant lands. Same with the rulers. This happened with the Phoenicians, the Greeks, The Romans and on and on (Think of how old the Silk Road really is). The thing is if cities were being built thousands of years earlier in those areas (known historically for sitting astride the east-west trade routes), you also will get trade flowing between Europe and Asia earlier (where they are starting to find cities thousands of years earlier then the “mainstream” claim is possible). Trade starts earlier, populations start mingling earlier. As an example more definitive results from a 2004 study on the population of Malta finds that large percentage of it’s citizenry is of Phoenician descent.

    The Romans conquered the Phoenicians during the Punic Wars, destroying much of their culture. “In many ways, they’ve been quite enigmatic,” says Wells. “We know they existed, but we know very little about them. Why did they suddenly arise and start to spread around 1200 B.C.? And what impact did they have on other peoples in the Mediterranean? We’ve tried to use DNA, the genetic material we all carry in our bodies, to answer those questions.”

    Supported by a grant from National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, the scientists collected blood samples from men living in the Middle East, North Africa, southern Spain, and Malta, places the Phoenicians are known to have settled and traded.


    As DNA samples continue to be analyzed, more revelations are surfacing. “We’ve just received data that more than half of the Y chromosome lineages that we see in today’s Maltese population could have come in with the Phoenicians,” Wells says. “That’s a significant genetic impact. But why?” At this point he can only speculate.


    During the next few years, Wells and Zalloua plan to expand the sample size in the Middle East, southern Spain, and northern Africa. “I’m particularly interested in the Phoenician impact on Africa,” Wells says. “We know that Phoenicians—to a certain extent—controlled the trans-Saharan trade routes from their center of Carthage. They also navigated through the Strait of Gibraltar and moved around western Africa. But how far south did they get? And did they leave a genetic trail?” The search continues.


    So the “redhead ” gene moves around earlier than thought, due to earlier trade and probably earlier than thought alliances between rulers.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Neil Swallow:

    Never heard of the Oera Linda book before. The placing it as a forgery due to the paper forgets that folks tended to reproduce books by hand copy. So calling a book a ‘fake’ based on age is prone to the error of calling ALL copies fakes when they really could be “20 th printing”… but I’ll reserve judgment on the veracity until I’ve read a bit of it.

    Per Zahi: Yeah, camera hound. But given what we’ve learned recently about Egyptian payoffs to government, it looks like just part of the normal way of business there… You want access, you pay for the “expert” opinion…

    Oh, and what folks like that forget is the “negative space” analysis. IFF the Ramesses DNA showed he was, oh, I don’t know, directly related to Nassar? it would be front page news. Hiding it strongly implies that it isn’t what they want… and that would be an embarrasing admission that the Muslim invasions shifted the base genetic makeup of the people of Egypt. (That really ought not to be a surprise to anyone. Just like the Norman invasions shifted the genetic makeup of Normandy and middle England… and just like Romania has a bit of Roman DNA too. Invasions always leave a bit of DNA behind.)

    So the simple act of embargoing the information, implies “what it ain’t” and that negative space speaks…


    And they liked boats… Once you put a load of folks in boats, you are much more likely to wander around. Look at the Phoenicians. Started at one end of the place near Israel and ended up on the North Coast of Spain (and perhaps beyond). Then there are the “Sea People” who invaded Egypt at one time. Nobody knows who they were. But I’d expect to find some sea faring Celts among them…

    FWIW, Celtic languages have some odd affinity to both the semitic language type and the indo-European type. I’ve seen suggestions that they may represent some of the ‘bridge’ between the two that would allow linking those two language families into a superfamily. There are supposed to be striking similarities between Welsh, for example, and Hebrew. Also Bal, the ancient God, has echos in the names of ancient Celtic Gods. No idea how much truth is in it (as I’ve not found time to learn both Welsh and Hebrew…)


    but the simple fact is that Celtic languages are a very old line and have a deep root. That root does not lead north, through the Germanic / Slavic zones… nor is it found in the Latin / Greek corridor (though the Celts invaded Rome a few times and were in the middle-Europe area). It looks like it came by sea, and along the coastline ( the Spanish words Cerveza and Muhair are Celtic words still found in Spanish – beer and wife…) and the record of folks arrival in Ireland clearly shows them arriving from Spain. Then some went on to Scotland. So run that trajectory backwards and it points “around the bend into the sea and along the coast” back toward… the middle east and Egypt.

    The tendency to “hop scotch” around the sea doesn’t help establish a trend line, though. Nor does the tendency for intermediate invasions from somewhere else that erases the evidence. FWIW, the saddle was the key invention that let G. Khan take over the world. Part of why those Celtic style mummies in middle-asia are a big deal is that it tends to say “The saddle was not invented by Asian types, but by redhead types…” They found mixed graves of asian and european types in a newer layer, then eventually all asian types. But the material goods didn’t change much. The folks in Mongolia do NOT want to hear that they adopted a Celtic technology and then just out reproduced them. But that is where the evidence points. A Celtic culture of horses and nomadic ranching, then a slow displacement via intermarriage with folks from the ajoining race. (Gee, sounds like Texas ;-)

    So that little story gets barely mentioned, and always with a load of PC disclaimers. ( I don’t see a problem with it, myself. Bunch of redheads and asians each like the look of the other and, well, ‘get together’? Seems not that much different from today. That they lived peacefully together for generations is very encouraging).

    But back at Europe in 10,000 BC.

    No, I don’t think the Celts were just standing around in the middle of France… Remember the ice… As the Ice Age ended, folks moved out and north. The Celts were not living under the ice before 10000 BC…

    FWIW, while I don’t have a firm answer yet, it looks like they may have followed two trajectories. One via Turkey by land and on into middle-Europe. The other via the sea by ship. Perhaps skipping past such places as Greece, or perhaps the Greeks came in later from a more Slavic direction. This, then, leaves the highly speculative possibility that they originated in the area of Israel / Palestine and maybe are the leftovers of the Edomites.


    Remember Esau? He leaves the Hebrew history as Israel steals his birthright. But he doesn’t die, he founds the Edomites. They then go on through history wandering around and “causing trouble from time to time” per the pastor at my spouses church ;-)

    Not one of the “lost tribes” of Israel, but a branch from a step higher. And as Esau had red hair, we know his tribe would have the Redhead Gene…

    The Edomites may have been connected with the Shasu and Shutu, nomadic raiders mentioned in Egyptian sources. Indeed, a letter from an Egyptian scribe at a border fortress in the Wadi Tumilat during the reign of Merneptah reports movement of nomadic “shasu-tribes of Edom” to watering holes in Egyptian territory.[2] The earliest Iron Age settlements—possibly copper mining camps—date to the 9th century BC. Settlement intensified by the late 8th century BC and the main sites so far excavated have been dated between the 8th and 6th centuries BC. The last unambiguous reference to Edom is an Assyrian inscription of 667 BC;

    Genesis 36 lists the kings of Edom:

    These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before a king ruled the children of Israel. And Bela ben Beor ruled in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. And Bela died, and Jobab ben Zerah from Bozrah ruled in his place. And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani ruled in his place. And Husham died, and Hadad ben Bedad, who struck Midian in the field of Moab, ruled in his place, and the name of his city was Avith. And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah ruled in his place. And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth on the river ruled in his place. And Saul died, and Baal-hanan ben Achbor ruled in his place. And Baal-hanan ben Achbor died, and Hadar ruled in his place, and the name of his city was Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel bat Matred bat Mezahab. And these are the names of the clans of Esau by their families, by their places, by their names: clan Timnah, clan Alvah, clan Jetheth, clan Aholibamah, clan Elah, clan Pinon, clan Kenaz, clan Teman, clan Mibzar, clan Magdiel, clan Iram.

    I always wondered about those “MaccAbees” ;-)

    They even have a bit of a connection to Nebuchadnezzar:

    “In the time of Nebuchadnezzar II the Edomites helped plunder Jerusalem and slaughter the Jews. For this reason the Prophets denounced Edom violently.”

    (There is an even more speculative verging on fantasy possibility that they then merged into the Nabateans as they fade from the scene, that then make Petra and wander north toward Syria and exit into… about the places where Celts show up…. but the timing is a bit off, IMHO, and I think the Celts were already there a bit eariler.)

    I’ve not posted anything on this as it is all so speculative (and there are loads of folks spouting trash as truth on various aspects of it). I’d love to find a reliable reference to someone who could compare Hebrew (especially old Hebrew / Phoenician) and old Irish / old Welsh. But the interesection of those language skills seems very thin.

    It would also be interesting to get the gene map of Celts vs old Phoenicians / Hebrews, but there isn’t a lot to work with there, either, and modern Jews have had such a mixing around the world and then the return to Israel that it’s not going to be very enlightening (other than specific markers like the Cohen Gene).

    So that sits as one of the “sometimes I just look at it and wish for another lifetime or two” projects. All it would take is a global genetics map of present populations AND old mummies / burrials along with learning Phoenician, Hebrew, Old Irish, Welsh, and…


    @j ferguson:

    Only once, I think… wonder where it is now…

    I suspect it was a bit more of “got a boat, going fishing” and sometimes that nice warm beach is just sooo comfortable a place to stay a while and teach the locals how to make cerveza … Then again, it may just be the “power of boredom”. You have the “honey do” list and the choice to add another “hand built of heavy stone” room to the house or… Maybe ‘ol Ken would like to spend a bit of time wandering over the hill there looking for someone to rumble… Maybe some of each…

    Just look at modern day. French New Caledonia, Scots and Irish all over Nova Scotia and the USA. And what did I just do on a whim? Round trip to Florida. And now I’m itching for another one… We just don’t sit still well.

    Kind of like Esau… always wanting to run around and go hunting and exploring…

    At any rate, we have both genetic and written records putting tribes of Redheads in the Levant as far back in history as we can go. Then we have records of them being involved in various wars, and with a batch of them slowly moving out and northward (then leaving the record).

    Then, thousands of years later, we get a bunch of folks with a fair number of redheads who speak a strange language that is sort of “half indo-european half semitic” in some structures, have an oral tradition of gods with names like Baal and of being decended of Noaeh … and who are darned good at working metal, making boats, and soap, and generally anything technical… but don’t do well with all that formal government structure stuff so the Romans crush them (eventually) showing that stupid oppression can beat intelligent bickering any day…

    I don’t think I like what this implies for the future…

  16. H.R. says:


    Didn’t know about the boat thingy as Herm didn’t discuss it much, but actually it was in the background as a matter of course. They didn’t get to all of those places by foot.

    Herm also brought up that there are several Hindi words that match up with Celtic words. The roots of the Celts keeps getting pushed back.

  17. neil swallow says:

    @e m smith regarding the oera linda book if you only read the introduction by Dr Ottema where he studies the original manuscript and concludes from different methods that it dates from the 12th century .i guarantee you will be intrigued.when he describes complementary previously unknown accounts adding to alexanders story in india it just whets your appetite.

  18. kuhnkat says:

    The shpynx had to be redone because he was originally a red headed white guy??

  19. Jason Calley says:

    Those darned red-heads got all over. Heyerdahl claims that the old rulers of Easter Island were red-haired. Ever wonder why the Moai statues there had that red lava top knot balanced on their head?

    There are similar stories of the Inca rulers.

  20. R. de Haan says:

    I’ve met red bearded Arabs in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon and Berbers in Morocco. For some reason I had to think about Lawrence of Arabia and the times the VOC traded slaves they bought from the Arab slave traders. When I asked them about their background they said it was in the blood of their clan for centuries and of course it was the will of Allah. That ruled out Lawrence of Arabia but the red heads that served with the VOC could have exchanged some of their genetic material, who can tell.
    Two of them suffered from facial skin cancer which is typical of red hairs being exposed to too much sun.
    The other two were to young but they too showed burned noses an cheeks. I provided them with a trick I use when I go into the mountains to protect my neck and nose against the sun. I use aluminum foil because I really hate sun block.
    I wrap it around my neck and stick a double folded and carefully shaped piece of the stuff with 3M tape to my sun glasses to protect my nose.
    I does look entirely ridiculous of course but it works perfectly. Reds and tan, an impossible combination.
    Reds and panama hats, that’s a better combination.

  21. George says:

    Every notice the population of Oklahoma seems to have more redheads than practically anywhere else in the country? Well, at least the area around Oklahoma City seems to. I noticed that several years ago when I used to travel there a lot on business.

    Maybe not the most in absolute number but they do seem to have the most as a percentage of the population.

  22. Paul Hanlon says:

    I’m “dirty” blonde, and after some reading about Celts had an immediate affinity with them, as most Irish people would.

    There is a sort of celtic crescent, starting from Northern France (where there is a huge inter-celtic festival), into Cornwall in the South West of England (quite close to Stonehenge, although I’m not saying there’s a connection there ..), on into Wales, through the whole of Ireland, and then into Scotland.

    It could just be that they were driven there by the Romans (We didn’t get on very well with them). I was surprised by the Indian connection, but I can definitely attest to the wanderlust among us.

  23. Ed Forbes says:

    Been following this since the 90’s. Been some very interesting work done in this area.

    A west coast showing was cancelled, but their will be one on the east coast.

    Dammm….In Philly till March, was to be until June….and I have a trip scheduled for Philly in July

    Philly exhibit reopens with Chinese mummies
    By JOANN LOVIGLIO, Associated Press

    In a Feb. 18, 2011 photo, the Beauty of Xiaohe, a mummy discovered in the Tarim Basin in far western China, is shown at the “Secrets of the Silk Road” exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. The exhibit is scheduled to run through until March 15. Philadelphia is the final stop before the artifacts return to China

    Sunday, February 20, 2011


  24. neil swallow says:

    being of the well freckled variety myself dark hair with a red tint and ginger beard .before i went grey that is.i can certainly testify to the sunburn problem.hadnt really thought about the wanderlust but as i spent several years travelling through europe working and moving on as i fancied .that would seem to apply as well.their is aregion of northern spain with strong celtic affiliation even a brand of cigarettes called Celtas

  25. paulID says:

    you really need to setup the ability to link to Facebook I have many friends that would benefit from you musings. :)

  26. Beth Cooper says:

    I didn’t know Alexander and Cleopatra were redheads. I come from a long line of redheads myself, freckles,quick retorts, the lot:) On my father’s side, a long line of engineers, my dad took out a couple of world patents. Family migrated from Scotland to Australia.

  27. Sera says:

    About halfway into the article are some pics of the Berber city of Ghadames- beautiful and stunning architecture of the ancient city.


  28. Proud Denier says:

    In some traditions (Spain; others?) Judas Iscariot (yes, he of the 30 pieces of silver) was a redhead (“el Rubio”).

  29. Mike Patrick says:

    You are going to need Sherlock Holmes’ Redhead League to sort through this one.

  30. Matt says:

    I’m sure I read a newspaper report on Redheads in the UK a couple of years ago that quoted figures I thought were very suspect until at the end it explained that officially blonds of all shades are officially classed as redheads.

    Seemed odd but maybe was scientific.

  31. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve had a couple of “Friends” requests to join Facebook. I’ve avoided it. I’m already overcommited and get complaints that I don’t read my email often enough… the last thing I need is to add another major time sink. I suspect I’d get torn asunder…


    There are interesting liguistic connections between Berber and some of the Celtic languages…

    @Beth Cooper:

    Fits the pattern… FWIW, a chunk of my Mom’s family moved “down under” a couple of generations back. If you see any redhead / blondish-brown folks named Sumner with a history of granddad or great-granddad as sailors, well, say hello for me!


    Wife’s mom is a Readhead from Oklahoma… Married into a Texas family… that I’ve now married into… There’s a fair number of redheads in Texas too… Don’t mess with Texas

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Most of France is Celtic. Many just don’t know it, though. There is a germanic chunk to France, and a lot of the folks in France think they are somehow related to Rome (due to the language being a Romance language, I think). But the reality is that Rome didn’t push the people out of the way, it subjugated them and made them “Roman”. So the folks that identify as Celts (Brittany) just resisted more. Much of the others are still genetically and historically of Celtic ancestry, just Romanized.

    Similarly, a lot of Spain is of Celtic ancestry, but simply don’t bother to remember it. Looking instead to the Latin / Roman influence or to the North African root. But back in the mountains a ways, there are some who remember.

    FWIW, along the Med. Coast of Spain it was a Phoenician area. To the extent that Phoenicians and Celts have some long lost connection back to the redheads of the Levant, it becomes a question of path more than of character…


    I’ll take a look.

    I remember the first time I found out there were Roman ruins in North Africa… then found out that even earlier there were great cities of Punic / Phoenician type.

    I suspect that when various catastrophic collapses happened, civilization moved north and west… A smaller form of the “Africa Pump” theory…

    I’m cooking up an article on that, but it’s not ready yet.

    @R. de Haan:

    Took a bit of googling to find that VOC is the Dutch East India company running South Africa…

    While there likely was some “exchange” during the various colonial times, the Reds of North Africa especially in the Berber areas have been there almost forever….

    FWIW, there were also a group of Goths that started out in Asia, wondered over most of Europe, through Spain, and into North Africa, then back to about Libya. Any examination of the genetics of North Africa is going to just have a mess on their hands. Pretty much every single empire has run over the place. Phoenicians, Goths, Romans, Arabs, even some Greeks from time to time. And several of THOSE groups were very “mixed” (i.e. “Romans”). Then you get things like the “Sea People” who invaded Egypt. They originated somewhere to the west, and raided basically everywhere along the way, so that would include North Africa as well.

    Add in the ‘trans Sahara” trade routes for things like salt and metals and slaves and… that flourished from before Roman times and into the age of Empires and, well, it’s a “well trampled” place…


    I’m a bit surprised at the number of us with The Redhead Gene… but perhaps ought not to be ;-)

    One of the “odd bits” of being “of the clan” is the relatives. I have one sister with dark black hair. Her son is a blond. One sister is a blond, married to a redhead. Their kids are all redheads of various shades. I’m a ‘dark ash blond” and my wife is dark brown hair. BUT we both have redhead parents. 2 kids, one blond, the other striking redhead. To quote an Asian friend: “It must be strange… You don’t know what you will get?!”

    And ain’t that the truth…

  32. boballab says:


    No one should be surprised especially now. Through out history where ever there has been trade and conflict (ie soldiers) between different genetic groups there will shortly there after be a mixing of genes. It was true in Alexanders time, it was true in Roman times and it’s true today. Example I have a great uncle that married a Italian girl in 1946 in Italy when he was stationed there, I got an uncle that married a Japanese lady when he was stationed there and then there was I that married a Filipina when I was stationed there. however besides those mixing’s there is another and it is the reason why Prostitution is the Second oldest profession: Soldiers were needed first. Then there is the age old practice of armies: Rape, Pillage and Burn (and make sure you get it in the right order! :) ). They are sure to leave behind a gift every now and then.

  33. E.M.Smith says:


    There is a reason my Dad is from Iowa and my Mom from England… ( Hint: W.W.II the US Army was stationed where prior to the invasion of Normandy?)… My oldest sister has a British birth certificate…

  34. Verity Jones says:

    E.M. re Facebook – you misunderstand what PaulID is asking. Go into your WordPress Dashboard, scroll down and click Settings, then click Sharing.

    Scroll down to ‘share buttons’ and you can enable Facebook as a service (it appears as a button on the bottom of each post – see WUWT). This means your readers can send a link to their friends on Facebook – no further obligation on your part.

  35. E.M.Smith says:


    If you “mouse over” the “share” button at the bottom of the posting you will see Facebook as one of the options…

    I’ve had that enabled for a while now. (months?)

  36. Verity Jones says:

    Ah – then PaulID has missed it too. I must say I like that way of doing it rather than individual buttons.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    Perhaps if folks are consistently ‘missing it’ it isn’t that good a way to do it ;-)

  38. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m sure I read a newspaper report on Redheads in the UK a couple of years ago that quoted figures I thought were very suspect until at the end it explained that officially blonds of all shades are officially classed as redheads.

    Seemed odd but maybe was scientific.

    Most definitely wrong AND not scientific.

    Blonds are the result of lower levels of melanin.

    Redheads are the result of a different KIND of melanin.

    Redheads also have many more ‘hairs per unit area’ than just about anyone else. By something like 10 x as many as asians.

    So a “Blond” can have very thick individual strands of hair, and it stays in the yellow / white range as it is simply lacking in Melanin.

    A Redhead can have melanin, but it’s a different, more red form (i.e. NOT black / brown). Then very thin hair strands give the very bright light red while those with more melanin and thicker strands get the darker reds. BUT it is ALWAYS a shade of red and never the very very light brown that is a blond.

    It is possible to have a very low level of red melanin and be a ‘strawberry blond’, but very few people really are such.

    There is a spicific gene MC1R as noted in the article up top that is involved in being a redhead and if you have a copy of the special red one from both parents, you are a redhead. If you don’t, you aren’t. (Modulo the odd case where a guy may get it from both parents for the beard color, but not for the head color… somehow… Also folks with only one copy of the gene are ‘carriers’ of the trait, but sometimes have ‘red highlights’ IMHO. I think it is due to both forms of melanin being made, but most of the time the brown form masks the red).

    A blond, by definition, does NOT have the red forms of MC1R or they would not be blond, they would be red.

    FWIW, you can see this very clearly in my family. The daughter is a “Flaming Red” the son “Pure Blond” while I’m brown/blond of the “Dark Ash” variety with red highlights and a red beard / body hair.

    My wife makes both forms of melanin. So head is dark brown w/ red highlights in strong side lighting. Her mom was very Red, so she definitely has a red recessive as a carrier. She has very thick hair. (I have the very thin redhead type). Son has very thick hair (as does his very dark brown headed mom), but lacks melanin production, though what he makes is of the ‘brown’ type. Dilute brown is yellow. Thus, he is blond with no red highlights. He also does not burn at the beach much at al. Normal melanin in skin. Daughter got “2 reds” and very fine hair along with milk skin and burns in 10 minutes on the beach. Also has plenty of shade from all the boys that gather around staring at the very red hair ;-)

    Do not argue with her, you will regret it … She also has the redhead “look that can kill”… which lets you know in no uncertain terms that you are an idiot doomed to rot in hell… and if you will just turn your back for a moment that can be arranged for you…

    So, go tell your newspaper that “blond” is very light brown and NOT red. Red is red, and not brown. Period. Don’t make me send my daughter over to explain this to them….

  39. Sera says:


    I noticed that the majority of color in the Berber ‘artwork’ is RED- forgot to mention that. Also forgot to mention that I found the story at SDA posted by Kate.

    I’m having a wonderful time with the ‘Lee Loaders’, and I ended up buying nothing but GE Reveal bulbs (long story). The bottom line for me was that light quality was more important than the other issues. Plus, I foung a 150W GE Reveal that works great as a reading lamp. Increased lightfastness and richer colors, and the price wasn’t prohibitive (just 25 cents more per bulb).

  40. E.M.Smith says:


    I love Kate and SDA… I ought to visit there more often…


    Isn’t that Lee Loader just a tickle? Takes a bit of a gentle hand to not do things like ‘over crimp’, but still, it just works.

    Reminds me of making cookies. Yeah, some don’t come out just perfect, and it helps if you can spoon exactly the same amount each time, and it sounds like it would take way too long to make 4 dozen if someone describes it to you, but you start doing it and watching TV and pretty soon, there’s that first dozen in the rack and then you realize it’s time to switch over to the news and realize you are all out of “fixings” and have 4 dozen in the box… and wonder “Where did the time go?”… then notice it didn’t go anywhere, you still have the news just starting…. so time to “wash up and have a cup of tea”… ;-)

    FWIW, while I won’t admit it in public as GE is acting all Evil… I’ve got 2 packs of GE Reveal incandescents and a “75 W equivalent” Reveal CFL bulb that I’m playing with…

    I use them in places where I really do want better color rendition… Do realize that the ‘blue’ coating that cuts down some of the ‘excess’ reds means you have less “lumens / Watt”, so they are not the most efficient bulbs…

    So I don’t use them in the garage or closets or yard lights or… well, where quantity matters more than quality.

    But for a work light over knitting, drawing, reading, photo viewing… yeah, it matters. (Not that I knit or anything ;-)

    (But did you know that the first programming was cards to control knitting machines? The “punches” controlled the threads and that’s where punched cards came from… and the knitting books that give you the pattern? Those are programs complete with callable subroutines and everything… I think I first learned to program when Mom taught me how to read one of the books – I got to work on a sleeve while she was doing the harder bits… But I don’t knit now, nope, not a bit… I’m a MAN now, and we never knit. You’ll never see me knitting, not ever. Keep the drapes drawn after all …)

  41. Sera says:

    When I was younger I got really sick with food poisoning. My mother gave me two needlepoint patterns of an equestian theme to keep me occupied. Later, she had them professionally made into sofa pillows. Whatever gets you through the day, I guess. I did not know that about the punch cards for knitting, but it kinda makes sense. Also, what you (and Concise) call circular slides, we just called them ‘computers’. We had them in the darkroom for exposure/flash times, and by the cutter for sizing stock. Each one made for a specific purpose, just like any other slide rule.

    GE is evil, my brother works for them- his territory is Europe. All of it.

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