27 June 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

Ancient Egyptian Kohl recipes more diversified than previously thought

Researchers analyzed the contents of 11 kohl containers from the Petrie Museum collection in London and have revealed that the recipe for Kohl was more diverse than previously thought.

Kohl is a dark-eye cosmetic, popular in Ancient Egypt and many other cultures throughout the ages. The term ‘kohl’ is of Arabic origin and has been used to describe various types of drugs and cosmetics used on the eyes.

Kohl was used not only in ancient Egypt, but also by the Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Phoenicians, Indians, and Muslims.  Kohl has been used since at least 5000 BC and continues to be used today.

Makeup was used in ancient Egypt not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for hygienic, therapeutic, and religious purposes. The traditional black or sometimes green kohl was part of sacred rituals and was also used for medicinal purposes.

 Archaeological records show that green eye paint was more popular than black in pre-dynastic times, but around the beginning of the (proto) dynastic period, black became more common and largely replaced green.

The contents of kohl and various ways to prepare it differ based on tradition and country. Researchers analyzed the contents of 11 kohl containers covering a broad range of locations and periods from Ancient Egypt.

Map and pictures of the 11 kohl containers from the Petrie Museum.
Map and pictures of the 11 kohl containers from the Petrie Museum.

Samples were screened using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) followed by Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), Powder X-ray Diffraction (PXRD), and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS). This allowed the team to characterize inorganic and organic constituent materials and formulate formulations for making kohl.

The resulting data indicated that Kohl’s was a heterogeneous mixture, which was divided into three main groups according to the results of the FTIR analysis: (1) inorganic predominant, (2) organic and inorganic mixed, and (3) unknown.

From an inorganic perspective, chemical analyses in the last few decades have identified a predominance of galena and other lead-based compounds in black kohls. The new study identified eight minerals previously not found in ancient kohl: biotite, paralaurionite, lizardite, talc, hematite, natroxalate, whewellite, and glushinskite, in addition to silicon-based, manganese-based, and carbon-based lead specimens.

The study also represents the first systematic study of organic components in kohls. It yielded six specimens that likely consist predominantly of organic materials such as plant oils and animal-derived fat. Taxonomically distinctive ingredients identified included Pinaceae resin and beeswax. All these findings point towards more varied recipes than initially thought and significantly shift our understanding of Ancient Egyptian kohls.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-08669-0

Scientific Reports

Banner
Related Post

Fossils of sea creatures 35 million years old discovered in eastern Turkey

17 August 2021

17 August 2021

In Turkey’s eastern province of Mus, a team of researchers discovered fossils of sea creatures estimated to be 35 million...

More than 56400 Cultural Goods Seized in Operation Pandora V

11 May 2021

11 May 2021

Operation Pandora V, aimed at preventing the illegal trade of cultural goods, has been one of the most successful operations...

The unknown importance of Göllü Dağ on the route of the first humans’ Transition from Africa to Europe

4 October 2021

4 October 2021

The researches conducted in Göllü Dağ and its surroundings, located within the borders of Niğde province in Central Anatolia, and...

Archaeological excavations started again after 50 years in Tunceli Tozkoparan mound

28 June 2021

28 June 2021

Archaeological excavations at the Tozkoparan Mound in Turkey’s Tunceli province are anticipated to turn the city into one of eastern...

According to new research, medieval warhorses were shockingly diminutive in height

12 January 2022

12 January 2022

Medieval warhorses are often depicted as massive and powerful beasts, but in reality, many were no more than pony-sized by...

Mass graves of Crusaders killed in the 13th century have been discovered in Lebanon

17 September 2021

17 September 2021

From 1096 to 1291, waves of Europeans took up arms and marched into the Middle East. They hope to “take...

Ushabti figurines on display at Izmir Archeology Museum

18 September 2021

18 September 2021

The 2,700-year-old “Ushabti” statuettes, discovered in archaeological digs in western Turkey and used in Egyptian burial ceremonies, are being shown...

Archaeologists find rare treasure in Suzdal of Russia

15 August 2021

15 August 2021

The twentieth season of fieldwork brought an unexpected discovery to the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences....

Interesting Social Dimensions of Rare Diseases Seen in the Bronze Age

10 March 2021

10 March 2021

When it comes to Rare Diseases, what almost all of us think of is that this disease has affected very...

Archaeologists discover Stargazer idol fragment in Turkey’s In the ancient city of Beçin

15 December 2021

15 December 2021

During archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Beçin in the Milas district of southern Turkey’s Muğla, the head of...

Roman camp of 10,000 people discovered in northern Portugal

2 July 2021

2 July 2021

A camp used by 10,000 Roman soldiers sent to conquer northwestern Iberia has been discovered in the Portuguese city of...

Archaeologists Unearth 78,000-Year Oldest Human Burial

5 May 2021

5 May 2021

A 78,000-year-old group of bones discovered at the mouth of a Kenyan coastal cave constitutes the oldest recorded formal human...

The Bronze Sacred Sanxingdui Tree Number 3 is Being Restored

9 April 2021

9 April 2021

According to the announcement of the Sanxingdui Museum, archaeologists have begun to assemble and restore the No. 3 bronze sacred...

Remarkable Roman mosaic discovered near London Bridge in Southwark

22 February 2022

22 February 2022

A team of archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology have announced the discovery well-preserved Roman mosaic that may have...

Middle Ages living space uncovered at an altitude of 1,800 meters in eastern Turkey

20 December 2021

20 December 2021

A living space carved into a bedrock considered to belong to the Middle Ages was found at a point overlooking...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.