Archaeologists surprised to discover mysterious ancient Egyptian head cones

Archaeologists reveal the finding of two ancient headgears at the historic Egyptian city of Amarna which was built by pharaoh Akhenaten

Among the historians and archaeologists, it is well-known that ancient Egyptians cared very much about their appearance. They also used to wear different kinds of headgears, especially pharaoh, while some wore the distinctive double crown known as a Pschent. Recently researchers have revealed that they discovered a mysterious cone-shaped headgear at the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna.

Here, it should be mentioned that the other kinds of headgears were worn for specific ceremonies. During that time many of the ceremonial hats were decorated with a figure of the uraeus, which is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra, used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority. Most specifically during the New Kingdom period, Egyptians used jewels and elaborate braiding, similar to cornrows to decorate their heads.

The discovery of ancient headgears

Researchers had noticed the evidence of headgear existence in Egyptian art dating from around 3550 to 2000 years ago. But none of them were found until the archaeologist reported the finding of two such head cones at the ancient city Amarna. The team of archaeologists who discovered these head cones have been working with Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities to analyze them.

Pharaoh Akhenaten
Pharaoh Akhenaten Wikimedia commons

The ancient city was built by pharaoh Akhenaten and was occupied from 1347 BC to 1332 BC. It contained thousands of graves of Egyptian people. But recently archaeologist Anna Stevens of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and her colleagues reported the excavation details of two skeletons with remnants of head cones or headgears. The researchers also revealed that while one cone was found with the skeleton of a woman in her 20s, the other one was atop another ancient skeleton of a 15 to 20 years old undetermined individual.

The significance of head cones

In a paper on the research, published in the journal Antiquity, the archaeologists explained why these cones were included in the burials. The experts continued that "they may have been thought to purify the wearer so they could engage with the rituals and deities of the afterlife. Alternatively, they could be connected with ideas of fertility and resurrection."

Excavations at the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna uncovered the skeleton of a woman in her 20s who was buried wearing a cone-shaped cap that likely held spiritual significance, researchers say.
Excavations at the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna uncovered the skeleton of a woman in her 20s who was buried wearing a headgear that likely held spiritual significance. Amarna Project/Stevens et al/Antiquity Publications Ltd

It should be mentioned that this discovery confirmed that these objects actually existed, which some researchers thought were "just artistic additions, like Christian halos," reported Fox News.

However, it should be mentioned that by using portable infrared and X-ray machines the team found that the cones were hollow and made of wax, probably beeswax. Even though some researchers speculated that head cones contained animal fat or wax scented with a substance such as a tree resin, the discovery in the ancient city of Egypt revealed that these headgears contain no fat traces or perfume.

The archaeologists still unclear about the names and occupations of the cones, as well as the meanings attached to such headgear. Stevens assumed that the head cones found at Amarna were associated with the spiritual assistance in the afterlife.

Related topics : Archaeology