Ancient Etruscan Ointment Discovered in Italy

Ancient Etruscan Ointment Discovered in Italy
From the discovery.com article:
Italian archaeologists have discovered lotion that is over 2000 years old, left almost intact in the cosmetic case of an aristocratic Etruscan woman.
The discovery, which occurred four years ago in a necropolis near the Tuscan town of Chiusi, has just been made public, following chemical analysis which identified the original compounds of the ancient ointment. The team reports their findings in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
Dating to the second half of the second century B.C., the intact tomb was found sealed by a large terracotta tile. The site featured a red-purple painted inscription with the name of the deceased: Thana Presnti Plecunia Umranalisa.
After analyzing the material, the researchers established that the contents of the vessel consisted of a mixture of substances of lipids and resins.
“The natural resins were the pine resin, exudated from Pinaceae, and the mastic resin, from Anacardiaceae trees. The lipid was a vegetable oil, most likely moringa oil, which was used by the Egyptians and Greeks to produce ointments and perfumes,” Ribechini said.
Also called myrobalan oil, moringa oil was mentioned by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23 A.D. – 79 A.D.) in his celebrated Natural History as one of the ingredients in the recipe of a “regal perfume” for the king of Parthes.
Read the article here.

etruscan-ointment

From the discovery.com article:
Italian archaeologists have discovered lotion that is over 2000 years old, left almost intact in the cosmetic case of an aristocratic Etruscan woman.

The discovery, which occurred four years ago in a necropolis near the Tuscan town of Chiusi, has just been made public, following chemical analysis which identified the original compounds of the ancient ointment. The team reports their findings in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Dating to the second half of the second century B.C., the intact tomb was found sealed by a large terracotta tile. The site featured a red-purple painted inscription with the name of the deceased: Thana Presnti Plecunia Umranalisa.

After analyzing the material, the researchers established that the contents of the vessel consisted of a mixture of substances of lipids and resins.

“The natural resins were the pine resin, exudated from Pinaceae, and the mastic resin, from Anacardiaceae trees. The lipid was a vegetable oil, most likely moringa oil, which was used by the Egyptians and Greeks to produce ointments and perfumes,” Ribechini said.

Also called myrobalan oil, moringa oil was mentioned by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23 A.D. – 79 A.D.) in his celebrated Natural History as one of the ingredients in the recipe of a “regal perfume” for the king of Parthes.

Read the article here.

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1 Response to “Ancient Etruscan Ointment Discovered in Italy”


  1. 1 Anna Dannfelt March 22, 2010 at 5:58 am

    I have this in my blog as well. Working with scents, I find the history of scents enormously exciting and interesting. Here and now we are actually able to connect with a time long past by the sense of smell – Amazing!


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