“Science” Alert claim that Ancient Egypt is non-African


Science Alert’s Article

On 12 April 2018 Michelle Starr, a writer at Science Alert wrote an article on a new archaeological discovery in Sudan. Claiming that the find revealed “A Vast African City of the Dead” [article] . One of the finds, a stela (relief offering) adorned with a representation of the goddess Maat, is described by the writer as having “African features”.

It’s great to see Sudanese archaeology obtaining coverage


When describing the Meroitic language the following passage appears:

[Meroitic] is the earliest known written language of sub-Saharan Africa, written in characters borrowed from the Ancient Egyptians- who were more closely related to the people of the Near East than middle Africa.

 The author then references a limited study examining the DNA of 90 (predominantly Late Period to Roman) mummies from a single site as evidence for this claim. I have contacted the magazine for clarification of why this evidence was prioritised over other research. I am waiting for a response.

At best this is lazy journalism, or someone who simply doesn’t understand the history, culture, and people of Kemet, or their close connections to those of the Nubian region. However, I have written about the intentional separation of these two cultures in previous posts and I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t another example of the whitewashing of Ancient Egypt.

I’m hoping that I’ll get a response to my enquiry and that the editor will consider amending the article. I have no idea why this sentence was even included; it certainly doesn’t add anything to the article other than maintaining a racist ideology, which is exacerbated by the fact that the author stresses the “African-ness” of one culture and totally denies its neighbour of this right.


26 thoughts on ““Science” Alert claim that Ancient Egypt is non-African”

  1. Let me start by thanking Dr. Shomarka Keita for his decades of work in the search for our true history. His major tool is both a weapon and a source of enlightenment: impeccable scholarship! I am eternally grateful to Shomarka for his mentorship and tutelage that guided my research and writing of “The Racial Identity of Ancient Egyptian Populations based on the Analysis of Physical Remains”, a chapter in “Egypt: Child of Africa” edited by Dr. Ivan van Sertima.
    I have a number of comments on the article being discussed here. I think the authors of the article solve the dilemma themselves about what their findings really mean. They start the article by stating Egypt endured foreign domination in the first millennium BCE which led to growing numbers of foreigners living within in borders. Since this is well documented historically and archaeologically for the region and time period where these mummy samples originate, why should they be expected to be anything other than just that….foreigners?
    There is a serious issue with sampling of the population in this study such that it cannot be considered representative of who the ancient Egyptians actually were. The sample studied here is not representative temporally, spatially or possibly even by social stature. It is not representative temporally in that samples do not come from any of the formative periods of dynastic Eqypt (e.g. Naqada phase) or the dynastic period during Egyptian-controlled dynasties (During Archaic/Old or Middle Kingdom). The oldest samples are derived from a span of time that includes that latter dynasties of the New Kingdom, but mostly of the Third intermediate period. It is not representative spatially in that it includes no samples from Upper Egypt which has many religious centers and centers of power throughout the dynastic period and it doesn’t include samples from sites in Lower Egypt. When I say the samples may not be representative by social structure, I would assume that there were segments of the population that would not be buried in the manner of mummification. If that is the case, are those populations different by race and ethnicity than the population studied here? The observations that these samples to not cluster with either modern Egyptians or Ethiopians but with modern people from the Middle East and the Levant reinforces the fact they are foreigners. To further make the case about sampling, the oldest set of samples are from a span of time that includes the 25th dynasty or Kushite dynasty. Doesn’t it seem odd that there are few or no samples with genetic affinities to sub-Saharan Africa during a period that is well-established to be under the control of the “Black Pharaohs”(Dr. Keita has done a good job deconstructing this nonsense). The entire study has a very small number of samples spanning over a millennium in time.
    Finally, a comment about the increasing sub-Saharan African presence in the Roman/post-Roman period samples. If foreigners can enter from the North, why shouldn’t they be expected to enter from the south as well? During the Roman period, the burials were different in that the sarcophagus had the face of the deceased person painted on outside. I am always fascinated by these faces because in many instances, the person is clearly mixed race based on their complexion, hair texture, full lips and noses. Roman’s of high society intermarry with the local Africans. No surprise. But perhaps some other event triggered a migration of sub-Saharan Africans into Egypt. Perhaps the attack of Meroe, Nubia by the Aksumites in the second and third century AD? Maybe other factors? While I think it is the goal of the authors to leave us with a narrative of Africans coming into Egypt long after the Dynastic era, and that the Dynastic Egyptians were Middle Easterners, I don’t think such a claim is supported by this work. I do think that their methodology in working with ancient DNA is ground-breaking and could be use to accurately paint of clearer picture of who the ancient Egyptians were (as if we don’t know!).

  2. I’m glad to see a professional admitting to African origins here. As a child I saw the King Tut exhibit in Los Angeles, and it was clear to me by observation that ancient Egypt had black African heritage. I wondered for many years why professionals and media portrayed and spoke about them as European. This was very confusing because my observation of reality contradicted professional opinion. I had no stakes or knowledge in the game of racism, so it was lost on me. I only saw propaganda/lies. I lost a lot of trust in them because of this and quit listening to their interpretations of ancient Egypt. Only recently I have noticed many others speaking out on what I observed as a young girl – and with more sense, thankfully and finally. I’m glad I found your blog. Thank you.

  3. Just reading the Nature article again.

    If you look attheir own chart, mtDNA haplogroup L3 (bright red) is present in the ‘pre-ptolemaic’, increases in the Ptolemaic and disappears in the Roman period. L3 is then higher among the Modern Egyptian population, and they use Ethiopia (instead of the usual Yoruba) as a proxy for ‘sub-saharan africa’.

    So why was L3 already present among the Greeks and before? Somehow they leave that out when they point out that L3 appeared after the Roman period.

    Then, their categories. Roman and Ptolemaic are self-explanatary, however, their category ‘Pre-Ptolemaic’ includes the Assyrian and Persian periods, the 3rd Intermediary, and some (how many?) New Kingdom mummies – no pre-Dynastic, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom mummies.


  4. [the Ancient Egyptians- who were more closely related to the people of the Near East than middle Africa.]

    “The author then references a limited study examining the DNA of 90 (predominantly Late Period to Roman) mummies from a single site as evidence for this claim.”

    Study: Modern Egyptian population more sub-saharan African than late ‘Ancient’ Egyptians. Or maybe they’re more Egyptian than the mummies tested…

    Wikipedia: “Overall the mummies studied were closer genetically to Near Eastern people than the modern Egyptian population, which has a greater proportion of genes coming from sub-Saharan Africa after the Roman period.[10][11]”


    From the same page – notice the strong “genetic drift” to Sub-Saharan Africa in the Modern Egyptian population, compared to their 90 late mummies:

    “Shared drift and mixture analysis of modern Egyptian with modern populations. Red shows the strongest connection.”


    Also remember that the Amarna Dynasty already clustered much more closely with people in Southern Africa, African Great Lakes and Tropical West Africa to begin with.

    My conclusion would be that the results of this study have been subject to massive mis-reporting.

  5. “This a hard fight, it is political, it is emotional, and obviously, we must leave biases as much as possible out of the question when studying this topic.”

    You’ve hit the nail on the head – there’s simply too much bias. Something even the most highly trained academics, including people who work in the therapy industry are guilty of.

  6. Thank you for your nuanced response, it was much needed! The study, by a German University, was highly published and promoted since 2017, proclaiming in big titles “The Ancient Egyptians were more European than Subsaharan African”. I thought it was shockingly disturbing that even from the title you could discern an inherent racist bias, and most importantly that reputable news outlets would assert such strong conclusions when the study was so poor and limited.

    In fact, it included 90 mummies, with solely 3 complete genomes from the same exact site in Northern Egypt, but also the period of time studied was that from the New Kingdom-the later period of Kemet, which follows migrations and major invasions notably by the Hyksos- and stretches far into the Greek/ Roman rule. Although I know this will trigger people, and I will probably be accused of being another crazy counter-establishment revisionist, but for me extrapolating small, pre-selected results to pursue the same agenda Egyptology and Eugenics have pursued for almost 200 years, namely to assert European superiority, I think is racist.

    I don’t think it has been said enough. I don’t think people are aware of this, especially in the United States and in the Magreb. This a hard fight, it is political, it is emotional, and obviously, we must leave biases as much as possible out of the question when studying this topic. But I just want to say, author of this website, if you are trying to shed more light on Kemet, even against establishment narratives, you are fighting against dragons, and they have money. Make sure you build allies!

    Charles, college student.

  7. Hi. Hope all is well. When will we see new post from you on this site? You and your expertise are truly missed. Thank you for sharing truth.

  8. Why do the so call contemporaneous western scientist of Egyptology beating around the Bush always by saying that ancient Egypt is a Caucasians or middle eastern civilization, while its very clear that it had originated first in Upper Nile Region(Sudan & South Sudan) before it reached its zenith at the Nile Delta, before Hykos came into kemet by Thousands years?

    1. http://m.ourweekly.com/news/2009/jun/18/ta-seti-worlds-oldest-civilization

      On 1 March 1979, The New York Times carried an article on its front page, written by Boyce Rensberger, with the headline: “Nubian Monarchy Called Oldest”. In the article, Rensberger wrote: “Evidence of the oldest recognizable monarchy in human history, preceding the rise of the earliest Egyptian kings by several generations, has been discovered in artifacts from ancient Nubia.” He estimated that “The first kings of Ta-Seti may well have ruled about 5900 BC.”

  9. When addressing this kind of work one has to use both data, critical evaluation of methodology and the philosophy science which refer back to the former. One must ask have the authors excluded any information that would counter their conclusions? Are there alternative explanations for their findings that should be presented? Good work requires the consideration of multiple explanations. Does the work expose a particular school of thought or interpretation, old paradigms, or pieces of such? Are things implied if not explicitly stated that could be or are misleading? Have the authors by implication simplified a complex situation? Have they used total evidence?

    1. Hi Mr. Keita,

      Great reply. Do you do DNA on plants also? Like what were the ancient Egyptians eating. I also noticed that there are some indigenous African crops that are give an outside origin. Anyways, sorry if this seems random.

  10. private/inquiry

    I stumbled upon this blog. You have some amazing work here. My tribe (Nyanja) from central Africa has many oral historical recollections of their origins from North Africa. I have always wondered whether the religious practices have any connection to Egyptian ancient practices. The masked dancers and secret society of the Chewa bear a resemblance to some ancient Egyptian gods…any thoughts?

    1. A comparative study of ‘gods’, saints, Orishas , etc, shows clearly that rhe Paut Neter is the prototype of them all. Keep in mind the civilisation of the Ancient Egyptians is the child (or mouthpiece) of Africa.

      See Gerald Masseys Ancient Egypt Light of the World bold 1&2.

  11. @Saart. Ths question was not about the origins of the language but rather of which language family it was most closely aligned to. I am already familiar with its Wolof parallels, but then again, the question is of language family, whereas the latter is of the so-called Niger Congo, when I specifically bisected Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan for effect.

  12. I still dont see why people keep asking where the language comes from There are no pyramids or buildings anyone in ” The Levant ” with Egyptian Hieroglyphics, yet there are peoples in Africa with languages that are eerily similar to Ancient Egyptian, for example.

    Pharaonic Egyptian – Wolof; (Wolof meaning)

    aam – aam : seize (take this)
    aar – aar : paradise (divine protection)
    Aku – Aku : foreigners (Creole descendants of European traders and African wives)
    anu – K.enou : pillar
    atef – ate : a crown of Osiris, judge of the soul (to judge)
    ba – bei : the ram-god (goat)
    bai – bai : a priestly title (father)
    ben ben – ben ben : overflow, flood
    bon – bon : evil
    bu – bu : place
    bu bon – bu bon : evil place
    bu nafret – bu rafet : good place
    da – da : child
    deg – deega : to see, to look at carefully (to understand)
    deresht – deret : blood
    diou – diou rom : five
    djit – djit : magistrate (guide, leader)
    Djoob – Djob : a surname
    dtti – datti : the savage desert (the savage brush)
    Etbo – temb : the ‘floater’ (to float)
    fei – fab : to carry
    fero – fari : king
    iaay – yaay : old woman (mother)
    ire – yer : to make
    itef – itef : father
    kat – kata : vagina (to have sexual intercourse)
    kau – kaou : elevated, above (heaven)
    kau – kau : high, above, heaven
    kaw – kaw : height
    kef – kef : to seize, grasp
    kem -khem : black (burnt, burnt black)
    kemat – kematef : end of a period, completion, limit
    khekh – khekh : to fight, to wage war, war
    kher – ker : country (house)
    kwk – kwk : darkness
    lebou – Lebou : those at the stream, Lebou/fishermen Senegal
    maat – mat : justice
    maga – mag : veteran, old person
    mer – maar : love (passionate love)
    mun – won : buttocks
    nag – nag : bull (cattle)
    nak – nak : ox, bull (cow)
    NDam – NDam : throne
    neb – ndab : float
    nen – nen : place where nothing is done (nothingness)
    nit – nit : citizen
    Ntr – Twr : protecting god, totem
    nwt – nit : fire of heaven (evening light)
    o.k. – wah keh : correct, right
    onef – onef : he (past tense)
    ones – ones : she (past tense)
    onsen – onsen : they (past tense)
    pe – pey : capital, heaven (King’s capital)
    per – per : house (the wall surrounding the house)
    pur – bur : king
    ram – yaram : body, shoulder (body)
    rem – erem : to weap, tears (compassion)
    ro – ro : mouth (to swallow)
    sa – sa : wise, educated, to teach
    seh – seh : noble (dignitary)
    seked – seggay : a slope
    sen – sen : brother
    sent – san : sister
    set – set : woman (wife)
    shopi – sopi : to transform
    sity – seety : to prove
    sok – sookha : to pound grain (sokh – to strike, beat)
    ta – ta : earth, land (inundated earth)
    ta tenen – ten : first lands (clay of first humans)
    tefnit – tefnit : to spit
    tem – tem : to completely stop doing something
    tn.r – dener : to remember (to imagine)
    top – bop : top of head
    twr – twr : libation
    uuh – uuf : carry
    wer – wer : great, trustworth

    Why would Black West Africans language be this Similar? The Pyramids, found in Zinder, Niger are also another dead give away, plus the Ruins in South Africa, that have Pyramids engraved on the stones.

      1. Please also look at Asar Imhotep’s plublications and presentations he strictly uses the historical comparative linguistic method African linguist’s concluded the Mdw Ntr to be part of the Ntu language family.

    1. Ancient Egyptian has been classified as an Afro-Asiatic language. Except for the Semitic families, all AA languages are in Africa, specifically in East Africa. South, East and Central Cushitic, Omotic, Beja, Ancient Egyptian and Semitic are all in East Africa and the Nile Valley. Berber is in Northwest Africa – and they have a very high concentration of E1b1b, like the Somalis. Chadic is in West to Central Africa.

      It is clear from their distribution that AA languages came from East Africa or spread from there after the drying of the Sahara.

  13. Modern research has done such a great job of illuminating the African roots of this ancient culture that all other assumptions seem antiquated; but sadly many continue to cling on to the Eurasian migrant theory until the bitter end. I believe that much more could be glossed from the history if observers would just simply open their minds, for there is much more to know and appreciate about the culture that is ancient KMT.

    The linguistic roots of KMT is a dead giveaway, and it is hardly discussed by most modern scholars. My question is, does the language of ancient KMT share more affinities to the Nilo-Saharan family than the Afro-Asiatic, which would place it more in line with the Sudanic and Nubian languages? Its relations to Semetic and the Near-Eastern languages has already been defeated on all grounds. Thank you.

    1. Afro-Asiatic languages is a faulty classification and based on opinion the historical comparative method was not employed by Greenberg in order achieve this classification which is like doing genetics without the science of dna and allows for bias.

    2. Egyptologists have often overshadowed attempts by “Nubiologists” in deciphering old meroetic language in Sudan. This would parsimoniously establish linguistic linkages with the ancient Egyptian language. Similarly, there’s ongoing work on Nilotic languages of S. Sudan (e.g. Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Collo etc.) and of East Africa. Afterall, Nubian languages (Kenuzi, Mahas) both in Upper Egypt and Donqolawi (N. Sudan) are Nilotic branches of Nilo-Saharan group. Hopefully, that will give us a better understanding on the origins of ancient Egyptian language(s).

  14. Thank you sally for challenging these misleading lies and is hard for a white woman as yourself being an advocate for a black egypt. Are you perceived differently by other egyptologist?

    1. Egyptologists often disagree with interpretations of materials. I am different to many Egyptologists in my training because I have a background in both Classical languages and archaeology as well as those related to Egypt. The last 7 years of my career as a professional Egyptologist were also spent researching other African cultures.

      1. My question is why would this individual even need to bring that up? It seems to me that there is almost this obsession in the field of pop science to push Ancient Egypt as non-African. They’re the ones that keep telling us that “race doesn’t matter” and all of that yet they seem pretty intent on trying to prove that the Ancient Egyptians weren’t African (despite the fact that Ancient Kemet was, yes, in Africa).

      2. Hello Sally, I recently stumbled upon your website and rediscovered your passion and steadfastness for the truth as it pertains to the peopling of Kemet. We met in Manchester in 2009 at the “Egypt in its African Context” conference where I presented my paper “Unwrapping Egyptology” which also appears in my book The Battle for Kemet. I believe I may have given you a copy. I commended you then for the work you were doing on Kemet and the work you were engaged in with the incarcerated.

        As you may recall Frank Yurco (Egyptologist at the Field Museum and Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago) who was the subject of my paper “Unwrapping Egyptology” had unfortunately made his transition in 2004. However, the fact remains that Frank admitted in 1999 that the depiction of ancient Egyptians as painted on a wall in the tomb of Ramesses III showing them with the same black skin color and dress as the Kushites was a valid representation of how they (the Kemites) saw themselves. While this alone won’t be enough to sway some naysayers it could at least provide food for thought and add to the arsenal of facts considering that Frank was far from being African centered. Looking forward to reading more on this site.

        1. Hi Charles, yes of course I remember. In fact I have shown your book to a number of people over the years, as well as using it myself. Thank you for sharing this fact. It’s great to hear from you.

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