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: Unique entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

Dec 20, 2014

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist ...

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

Dec 19, 2014

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

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.