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August 14, 2019

Cleopatra No 5? Scientists recreate ancient Egyptian queen’s perfume

World

August 14, 2019

LONDON: It is a thicker and stickier substance than modern products, unlikely to be suitable for test spray on your next trip to any top pharmacy chain. Myrrh is thought to have formed the basis of the fragrance deemed fit for the last queen of ancient Egypt, with the natural resin - one of three gifts offered to baby Jesus in the nativity - found in a number of thorny tree species spread across the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Researchers at the University of Hawaii mixed it with other ingredients including olive oil and cinnamon to achieve the final result, which was concocted following a decade-long excavation in the city of Thmuis. Professors Robert Litman and Jay Silverstein found evidence of an ancient fragrance industry at the site, which had a vast complex of third century kilns - a type of oven. It was there that ancient Egyptians are believed to have manufactured Mendesian and Metopian scents, which were bottled using clay imported from abroad and then using glass during a later Roman occupation.

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