Dreadlocks in History
Because hair naturally becomes matted when it isn't styled or combed, prehistoric humans must have worn their hair in a style similar to dreadlocks, until they invented combs and other utensils. Dreadlocks have been discovered on mummies in Peru, dating back to sometime between A.D. 200 and A.D. 800, and Aztec priests dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries traditionally wore their hair in matted locks.
Often, dreadlocks become a symbol of religious devotion, an ascetic's vow not to alter God's creation through grooming. In Ethiopia, priests in Christian Coptic churches have worn dreadlocks for hundreds of years. In India, the "sadhu" sect of Hinduism wears matted locks in tribute to the long-haired deity Shiva. "Rasta-Buddhists" in Japan, members of the black Muslim Baye Fall sect of Senegal, Maori in New Zealand, and tribes in Namibia and Angola all wear dreadlocks.