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Archaeologists find 2,000-year-old face cream still had fingerprints on it

When we think of certain objects, our mind certainly does not immediately associate them with distant times, but rather contemporary contexts. If we said, for example, face cream , we are sure that the first image that would light up in your brain might be that of a perfume store , or an advertisement touting the qualities of a miraculous balm.

It is therefore not difficult to imagine the astonishment of the archaeologists when they found themselves in front of a jar containing such a cosmetic, which still bore the obvious traces of the fingers of who had used it. An object which, according to what we have learned, dates back around 2,000 years : a real dive into the daily life of a past that recalls our present!

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image credit: Nature

If you think researchers found this incredible piece of history in an ancient dwelling from Roman times, you are wrong. The object was indeed found in Southwark, London, during the excavation of an old religious complex which housed a temple.

Puzzlement, happiness and amazement: these are the feelings that assailed them when they found the jar with the fingerprints in their hands. The decorated jar, about 6 centimeters in diameter, immediately attracted the attention of the officers in charge of the excavations. When they opened it, they were immediately enveloped by a strong sulphurous smell , and from the start it was not difficult to understand that it was a cosmetic ointment.

Subsequent analyzes have in fact confirmed this theory. The white mixture it contains is indeed a face cream, a mixture created from animal fat, starch and tin, which has incredibly survived for over 2,000 years and has come down to us in all its glory. singularity.

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image credit: Nature

“I’m amazed,” said Garry Brown , leader of the team of archaeologists who worked on the site, “it appears to be some sort of cosmetic cream or ointment. Creams like this don’t survive normally not in archaeological finds, so this is a one-time find. “

Indeed, the fact that it has come down to us in this state is quite remarkable. The ointment, probably of high quality, may have belonged to a wealthy woman , or to a temple frequenter. It is truly incredible that Roman culture was so widespread and ingrained that customs took hold almost everywhere. We don’t know if the owner of this jar was from Rome or from London, but it is certain that cosmetics were a very popular custom.

A truly unexpected and fascinating way to step back in time, don’t you think?

Source:

https://www.nature.com/news/2004/041101/full/news041101-8.html

via: The Guardian

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