Want to Know What Cleopatra Smelled Like? Scientists Believe They Have Uncovered the Pharaoh's Signature Scent
ancient Egyptian papyrus
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Most people know Cleopatra - she ruled as the queen of ancient Egypt from 51 to 30 BC. and is known to be associated with Julius Caesar. While much of her life is a mystery, there is one fact about the pharaoh that scientists are about to unravel: her favorite perfume.
While researchers have traditionally expressed a keen interest in the history of ancient cities, their studies have largely focused on visible objects, e.g. B. what these communities looked like based on excavated remains and unearthed personal belongings. Archaeologists have only relatively recently begun to focus on smells, according to a report by ScienceNews, by smelling odor molecules from artifacts and reading ancient texts for clues to perfume recipes.
Related: Archaeologists unearthed an ancient ring once used to ward off hangovers
Years of work went into discovering Cleopatra's signature scent. It began when archaeologists Robert Littman of the University of Hawaii and Jay Silverstein of the University of Tyumen uncovered the remains of a suspected fragrance factory some 2,300 years old. The site, which the researchers began excavating in 2009, contains clay kilns and perfume containers, according to ScienceNews.
After the discovery, Berlin-based Egyptologist Dora Goldsmith and Prague-based professor of Greek and Roman philosophy Sean Coughlin attempted to recreate a popular Egyptian scent known as the Mendesian scent that Cleopatra may have used. Experts experimented with ingredients like desert date oil, myrrh, cinnamon, and pine resin to create a scent the pharaoh likely wore. According to Goldsmith and Coughlin, the perfume is a strong but pleasant blend of spice and sweetness.
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