Hair comb

Medium:Bone, carved
Geography: Excavated at Diospolis Parva (Hu), Egypt
Date: c. 5300-3000 BC
Period: Predynastic Period
9 × 2.7 × 0.1 cm
Object number: 909.80.708
Not on view

Humans have always smoothed and straightened their hair, first with their hands, but very early in Prehistory with tools as well. It is possible that fish bones or the like were the first “natural” combs. Bone and ivory became favourite materials to use as combs, as these materials are both hard and smooth, so the comb will not snag the hair. The comb with long teeth used to retain coils of hair developed very early in Egypt during the Predynastic Period. 

This type of smooth flat hair comb is characteristic of the Naqada I Period. These combs are usually decorated with profiles of animal figures at the top. This example is mended together from seven pieces, but part of the top is missing.  The top may originally have been a stylized bird crest decoration.  The body of the comb is about 3 cm long and then there are four flat prongs about 2.8 cm long spaced about a millimeter apart. This comb was excavated by Sir William Flinders Petrie in 1898-99 from tomb 220 in cemetery U at the site of Diospolis Parva
Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1898-1899
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