A 2,000-year-old secret is out

Mar 09, 2005

A beauty product with a difference will be put to the test in a unique experiment at Bristol University later this month. A 2,000-year-old Roman cosmetic, discovered in an archaeological site in London, will be recreated using modern technology to give an insight into Roman beauty habits.
Members of the public will have the opportunity to see how the mysteries of the Roman cosmetic were eventually unravelled in an interactive talk by Richard Evershed, Professor of Biogeochemistry in the School of Chemistry.

The ancient cosmetic was analysed by Professor Evershed and his research team to identify its various ingredients. Preparation of the cream from modern ingredients yielded a cream which produced a white layer with a powdery texture when rubbed onto the skin. “We assume the cream would have been used by fashionable Roman women for cosmetic purposes,” said Professor Evershed. The results of the analysis indicate several similarities to the ingredients used in today’s modern cosmetics.

Professor Evershed said: “It shows how the technological sophistication of the Romans extends to a surprising level of understanding of the behaviour of organic and inorganic materials.”

Professor Evershed will introduce the methods involved in the chemical analysis of archaeological materials, including embalming agents in Egyptian mummies and food residues in ancient cooking pots, before presenting the Roman cosmetic. The talk will take place on Monday 21 March at 2 pm and is organised by the University’s Public Programmes Office and aimed at members of the public.

Source: Bristol University

Explore further: Understanding faith, teaching evolution not mutually exclusive

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Boy or girl? Lemur scents have the answer

30 minutes ago

Dozens of pregnancy myths claim to predict whether a mom-to-be is carrying a boy or a girl. Some say you can tell by the shape of a woman's bump, or whether she craves salty or sweet.

SOHO sees something new near the sun

2 hours ago

An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO.

Train car design reduced impact in Southern California crash

2 hours ago

(AP)—After a horrific crash a decade ago that killed 11 people and injured 180 more, Southern California's commuter train network began investing heavily in passenger cars designed to protect passengers from the full force ...

Appeals court considering warrantless cellphone tracking

3 hours ago

(AP)—Now that the cellphone in your pocket can be used to track your movements, federal appeals judges in Atlanta are considering whether investigators must get a search warrant from a judge to obtain cellphone tower tracking ...

Recommended for you

Ancient wheat points to Stone Age trading links

12 hours ago

(AP)—Britons may have discovered a taste for bread thousands of years earlier than previously thought, thanks to trade with more advanced neighbors on the European continent.

Humour in the 13th century characterized by ridicule

15 hours ago

We tend to think of the Middle Ages as grotesque and dreary. However, 13th century elites made use of laughter quite deliberately – and it resounded most loudly when it was at someone else's expense.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.