The mummy study unwrapped: your thoughts

I haven’t posted in quite some time, but my second PhD is now completed and awarded and so I hope to get back to posting more regularly over the next few weeks. I’ll be travelling in the USA this summer as part of my current research in youth justice, but I hope to take any opportunities to look at museums with collections from Kemet. As ever, I’m interested to see how Kemet is represented.

In the meantime, following on from the last article I posted on the reporting of the mummy DNA and alerting you to a question by S.O. Keita in the comments:

This is addressed to the readers of this blog:  What do you find most problematic about the piece on mummy genomes by Schuenemann et al. published in the last two years? Please list one or two things. This will promote a great discussion.

Please share your thoughts…

7 thoughts on “The mummy study unwrapped: your thoughts”

  1. 2 questions:
    1. Why haven’t we heard any responses from David Wengrow, Maria Gatto, Salima Ikram, or any of the other Egyptologist that seem to know better?

    2. Why hasn’t there been any similar statements made about the ethnicity of the royal mummies that have been tested?

  2. It is a testament to the depth to which we have been brainwashed with preconceived notions of human hierarchies and mental potential that we would not be able to attribute the accomplishment of Egyptian civilization to Africans and its origin to sub-Saharian Africans, even in the face of clear geographical evidence (In African and coming from the upper-Nile, Modern day Sudan and Uganda), genetic evidence, historical evidence (Nabta playa and Nile south-to-north migration of the culture), and self-reporting by the Egyptians themselves (Land of the blacks, referring to their ancestors as black, and depicting themselves as black and copper color which is prevalent throughout sub-Saharian Africa today) . In fact, just next door, no one questions the origin of the Hyksos, the Assyrians, the Persians, or even the Greeks for that matter.

    This problem only exists in a context where there is strong belief that Africans, and sub-Saharian Africans in particular are not of the same stock of the rest of frontal-lobe endowed beings on earth.

    In fact, if we remove this, excuse my usage of this term, absurd presupposition, we then understand that Africans contributed equally to human history and cultural development, as did many other people less afflicted with excessive melanin syndrome. We can then move the needle forward and ask, what was then the traumatic set of events that caused sub-Saharian African to not inherit, as rapidly as other cultures did, the shared benefit of technology that would have furthered their advancement. (A question eloquently address by Dr. Diamond and Dr. Anta Diop, I might add).

    As always, superb work Dr. Ashton. It is always interesting to see where the pursuit of truth through evidence drives us.

  3. I think there definitely needs to be more ancient and even prehistoric mummy DNA testing before everybody comes to any conclusion. I personally believe that its roots are mostly African. But what does that mean? North Africa has had migrations from the Levant for thousands of years. We know dark skin Africans have been on the continent for 200,000 years +. I think there needs to be more research in the sahara desert, because there were cultures there before it dried up and they moved north, west, south, and to the east towards the nile. But you also have Africans coming down the nile from inner Africa. I think there was Levant influence, but ultimately a classical African culture and experience.

  4. The results from the 2017 Max Planck study is being used by shoddy journalism to overreach just like early Egyptology. The study makes me think of a scenario where some archaeologists 3000 years from now, might come to one site in “ancient America”; Chinatown in New York for instance, where they would dig up some skeletons there, run some DNA tests, and conclude that all ancient Americans during the entire American period were of (Mongoloid) Chinese descent. Of course, we today would know this to be woefully inaccurate as the population has greatly varied over just a few hundred years. Kemet, by comparison, existed for 3000 years. And like any other powerful empire, Kemet developed wide-ranging contacts with empires elsewhere during its long existence. Of course, this would have opened the door to some “interracial mixing” even before the later invasions by the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans, and ultimately the Arabs. Any scientists should know that one needs as large a data set as is possible when performing DNA studies to make any sort of accurate conclusions about a population’s history, even over a few hundred years, let alone 3000 years. Solid conclusions cannot be made using 3 individuals from ONE spot from one time period as in the Max Planck study. Further, the thought that some hundreds of millions of Africans could exist in Africa for thousands of years and never build anything or develop a civilization is simply illogical and ridiculously absurd.

  5. Doryu Temple: They are reaching to say the least lol. The way they have framed this is that ancient Egyptians were not black African.. even though they only have 3 samples from 90 mummies in one particular place, in one particular time. It’s pretty laughable. Hopefully since Egypt is only roughly about 30% discovered the deeper the archeologists and scientists dig, they’ll find some intact older mummies from old kingdom etc. I like how they made king tut look white and bald, when his tomb clearly shows him dark skinned with dark Afro hair.

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