More on roman cosmetics found in London in 2003
November 4th, 2004
Based on the analysis, the team then synthesized their own version of the white cream.
"This cream had a pleasant texture when rubbed into the skin," the researchers wrote in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
"Although it felt greasy initially, owing to the fat melting as a result of body heat, this was quickly overtaken by the smooth powdery texture created by the starch; remarkably, starch is still used for this purpose in modern cosmetics."
The results suggested cattle or sheep were the source of the fat. No signs of perfume components were found.
Lead acetate usually gave Roman face paint its colour, but tin from the ancient Cornish tin industry in western England may have been an acceptable substitute in the cream, the researchers said.
They noted inorganic tin has no known medicinal value. Rather, it was likely used as a pigment, Evershed's team said.
As a bonus, the tin was non-toxic. By the second century AD, Romans were beginning to recognize the health risks of lead.
'Roman Cosmetics' Found at London Temple Dig (July 28,2003)