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Perfumed Glycerin on the pompeian women skin (Italy)
February 23th, 2004

The substance has been found examining the solid residual contained in some pompeian balsamarii, stored at the National Museum of Naples, by the investigators of the Department of Druggist Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The discovery suggests the glycerin was used as make up and in the in-house pharmacy.

Surveyings made with the infrared spectroscopy therefore confirmed that in the balsamario was conserved a substance made with glycerin. Plinius the Elder described a recipe about how to create glycerin by mixing lead oxide and olive oil.
"Glycerin based creams - explains Cecilia Baraldi, druggist and researcher of the University of Modena who leads the research - had, in ancient times, identical applications of modern era: in the make-up or as skin emollients, hydrating or detergents".
The investigations, that for the Archeological Department of Pompeii are lead by Annamaria Ciarallo, have permitted to discover also that in some of these balsamarii were conserved residuals of non italian substances, coming from Egypt. Those substances were used in antiquity as pigment (many egyptian tombs have them) for the colors, in the parietal decorations in Pompeii and Erculaneum, or, as base for the production of make-ups for the rich pompeian women.

 

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