Pharaoh's stolen hair back on display in Cairo

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Paris

Strands of hair from the mummy of Ramses II are back on display in Cairo, more than 30 years after they went missing. The hair was stolen, together with tiny scraps of the pharaoh's funerary shroud, when the mummy was sent to France in 1976 to undergo conservation treatment. The theft was only discovered when Jean-Michel Diebolt, a postman from Grenoble, tried to sell the hair online for €2,000.

M. Diebolt claimed that he was given the fragments of hair and cloth by his late father, who was part of the team which examined and conserved the mummy in 1976. The mummy had been sent to France to be treated for fungal growth; during this time, samples were removed for analysis and it is believed that some of these were later found in M. Diebolt's possession.

The hair was collected from Paris by an Egyptian official, and is now on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. However, the theft may have repercussions for conservators working in Egypt or those working on ancient Egyptian material. "From now on all scientific research and studies carried out on ancient Egyptian mummies will be executed by Egyptian Egyptologists or under complete surveillance by Egyptians," said Zahi Hawass, the Secretary-General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Pharaoh's hair on display again -- BBC News

A hairy tale for Ramses II -- Al-Ahram Weekly online

Postman held over Ramses sale -- The Guardian