Experimental Archaeology – Ancient Hair


Really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about Janet Stephens, a Baltimore hairdresser who moonlights as an experimental archaeologist, trying to reproduce the ancient hairstyles seen in ancient art.

Frescoes, pottery, sculpture and other surviving ancient art often depict women with really cool hair. Stephens tries to resolve academic debates on how these hairstyles were achieved, including whether they were likely to be wigs or real human hair. One of her breakthroughs included the realization that a complex arrangement of braids was likely sewn together with a needle and thread.

I find this sort of thing really fascinating, so I enjoy passing it along. Stephens published some of her thoughts and findings in the Journal of Roman Archaeology in 2008: “Ancient Roman Hairdressing: On (Hair)Pins and Needles.” Sounds like a fun read.

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About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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