Hair comb - 973.24.3730_1


Hair comb

Geography: Excavated at Gebel Adda, Egypt (ancient Nubia)
Date: c. 300 BC-350 AD
Period: Meroitic Period
9.4 × 6.9 × 0.4 cm
Object number: 973.24.3730
Credit Line: Gift of the National Geographic Society
Not on view

This type of wooden comb with two opposing rows of differently spaced teeth was introduced to Egypt from the Mediterranean world in the post pharaonic period. Although many combs preserved from ancient Egypt have come from tombs, this comb was found in the fill above a floor so it was certainly an object used in daily life.

The entire width of this comb seems to be preserved, which means that there were no protective end panels. The end teeth on both sides of the narrow teeth and one of the sides of the wider teeth have been damaged and broken off. The central panel is 2.4 cm wide. The comb is lentoid in section with the teeth on both sides tapering to a point. There were originally about 75 closely spaced teeth about 3.5 cm long. On the opposite side there were originally 28 more widely spaced teeth about 3 cm long.  The more widely spaced teeth would have been used for untangling or combing out hair with the narrower, more closely packed teeth used to smooth or touch up a coiffure, or perhaps to comb out lice from the hair.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.