Two professors from the University of Hawaii recreate an ancient perfume from Cleopatra in which it will be exhibited in an upcoming National Geographic exhibit.
The project UH Tell Timai, is an excavation that has been carried out for a decade in the ancient egyptian city Thmuis, in the Nile Delta, conducted by Professor Robert Littmann and Adjunct Professor Jay Silverstein.
Thumis was home to the most famous perfumes of ancient times, being in the first phase of this archaeological project where evidence of old fragrance industry, when a vast complex of kilns from the 3rd century BC was discovered.
The chemical analysis established that for the furnaces imported clays to make fine lekythoi or perfume bottles.
In a later Roman occupation, a glass making furnace which may represent the transition from ceramics to small glass perfume bottles used in the Roman period.
In 2012, a manufacturing area of some type of liquid along with an adjacent hoard made up of silver coins and gold and silver jewelry near the furnaces, suggesting it was possibly the house of a perfume merchant.
Residue analysis of the content of some of the amphorae found in the manufacturing area is currently underway to see if there may be identifiable traces of the liquids produced there.
Littman and Silverstein, along with Egyptian perfume experts Dora Goldsmith and Sean Coughlin, searched recreate the perfume of Thumis, based on formulas found in ancient Greek texts.
The result is on display until September 15 at the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC.
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