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Showing posts from July 15, 2012

Did Queen Hatshepsut Moisturize Herself to Death?

The German University of Bonn has just published the results of two years research on the contents of a bottle which belonged to Queen Hatshepsut. Far from containing the remains of perfume, as was thought, the bottle contained a mixture of palm oil and nutmeg combined with unsaturated fatty acids. This mixture, which cannot in any way resemble a face pack for beauty, strongly suggests a medication against a chronic skin condition, of the psoriasis type. It is known that Thutmosides suffered from a cutaneous affection apparently transmitted from generation to generation. We now know well the hereditary character of the psoriasis, which occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals which speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.
But this preparation also contained potentially harmful aromatic compounds, including creosote and tar (which are used even today in small doses in the treatment of psoriasis) and unspecified amounts of benzopyrene, which the authors descri…

The architect Kha's protractor

Kha was an architect at Deir El-Medina, Egypt, supervisor of some projects completed during the reigns of three kings of the 18th Dynasty (approximately 1440-1350 BC). Buried with his wife Merit, the items of their tomb are exposed at the Egyptian Museum, Torino. In 1906, Arthur Weigall and Ernesto Schiaparelli discovered his tomb, the Theban Tomb n.8 (TT8), on behalf of the Italian archaeological mission [1,2]. Considered as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries concerning the ancient Egypt, this tomb of the New Kingdom survived intact till its discovery. The pyramid-chapel of Kha and his wife Merit had already been well-known for many years, as shown by some paintings of this chapel reproduced by Karl Lepsius (1810–1884), but the tomb was located far from the chapel. Egyptologists also knew that Kha was an important supervisor at Deir El-Medina, responsible for some projects completed during the reigns of kings, Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III [1,…

Ancient Egyptians believed in coiffure after death Ancient Egyptian hair gel: New insight into ancient Egyptian mummification procedures through chemical analysis

Ancient Egyptians wouldn't be caught dead without hair gel. Style in the afterlife was just as important as it was during life on Earth – and coiffure was key. To this end, men and women alike would have their tresses styled with a fat-based "gel" when they were embalmed. The evidence of their vanity has been found in a community cemetery dating back 3000 years. Tomb paintings depict people with cone-shaped objects sitting on their heads, thought to be lumps of scented animal fat. "Once we started looking [for these], we found interesting hairstyles," "The hair was styled and perfectly curled." egyptians examined hair samples from 15 mummies from the Kellis 1 cemetery in Dakhla oasis, Egypt, and a further three samples from mummies housed in museum collections in the US, the UK and Ireland. The mummies were of both sexes, between 4 and 58 years old when they died, and dated from 3500 years to 2300 years ago. When examined with light and el…