Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hawass says that Tutankhamun was not black

Egyptian antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass insisted Tuesday that Tutankhamun was not black despite calls by US black activists to recognise the boy king's dark skin colour.

"Tutankhamun was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilisation as black has no element of truth to it," Hawass told reporters.

"Egyptians are not Arabs and are not Africans despite the fact that Egypt is in Africa," he said, quoted by the official MENA news agency.

Hawass said he was responding to several demonstrations in Philadelphia after a lecture he gave there on September 6 where he defended his theory.

Protestors also claimed images of King Tut were altered to show him with lighter skin at the "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibit which leaves Philadelphia for London on September 30.

The exhibition sparked an uproar when it kicked off in Los Angeles in June 2005 when black activists demanded that a bust of the boy king be removed because the statue portrays him as white.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are discussions going on about this topic elsewhere. Two of these are:
- Responses to an earlier post on this blog
- Why Cleopatra was definately not black on the Topix website

There is also a PDF version of an article by Frank Yurco entitled Were the Ancient Egyptians Black or White? previously published in the September/October 1989 issue of BAR Magazine (thanks to Kat for this reference).

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