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The fragrance of history... Have archaeologists resurrected Cleopatra's perfume?

The fragrance of history… Have archaeologists resurrected Cleopatra’s perfume?

Little by little modern researchers are helping to reveal what it was like to live in ancient societies, but although these studies emphasize taste, as in a culinary museum in Italy recreating ancient Roman dishes, and sound as in another study that brought back Stonehenge To amplify sounds and music, smell is not usually included in the equation.

Now this is slowly changing. Scientists are beginning to discover and recreate the olfactory landscape of the ancient world, including the recreation of perfume believed to have been used by Cleopatra, the queen who ruled Egypt between 51 and 30 BC.

According to a reportScienceNews However, identifying the ingredients that make up real old perfumes isn’t as easy as it might seem. Archaeologists Robert Littman and Jay Silverstein, both from the University of Hawaii, discovered a perfume factory outside Mendes in 2012 filled with perfume bottles containing perfume residues and the two ordered Dora Goldsmith, Egyptologist in Berlin, and Sean Coughlin, professor of Greek and Roman philosophy in Prague, use “experimental archaeology” to try to recreate the fragrance produced there..

They were able to create “strong, spicy, and mildly musty scents that tend to last longer than modern perfumes,” and the trial-and-error process involved the use of ingredients such as desert date oil, myrrh, cinnamon and pine resin..

In the days of Cleopatra, this perfume was known as the Mendezian perfume, or in English Mendesian It was named after the city in which it grew up Mendes Because of its immense popularity among the Egyptian upper class, the recipe written in ancient Greek and Roman has survived.

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And in a research paper published in September 2021 in the Journal of Near Eastern Archeology entitled “Eau de Cleopatra‘, the researchers describe how they used classical sources and ultra-modern paleobiology techniques to identify and recreate smell.

According to Eileen Feli, according to the website Hyperallergic Although it is possible that the research teams remained at least very close to the exact scent of Cleopatra, it is unclear whether the remaining Roman and Greek descriptions of Mendzia’s perfume are exactly the same as the Egyptian one, adding: “Even in the Egyptian descriptions of other perfumes, Some of the exact ingredients are unclear. For example, when a recipe calls for pine resin, should it come from pine trees or cedar?”