Brief Communication | Published:

Archaeology

Formulation of a Roman cosmetic

Nature volume 432, pages 3536 (04 November 2004) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

The discovery of a small tin canister in London during archaeological excavations of a Roman temple precinct, dated to the middle of the second century AD1, is a landmark in the study of this class of artefact. Such discoveries from the Roman world are rare2 and this is the only one to be found so far with its lid and contents — a whitish medicinal or cosmetic cream — providing a unique opportunity for us to study the ancient formulation.

This unguent shares some surprising features with modern moisturizing creams.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Curr. Archaeol. 192, 540–547 (2004).

  2. 2.

    Britannia 20, 169–191 (1989).

  3. 3.

    et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 100, 1524–1529 (2003).

  4. 4.

    & J. Agric. Food Chem. 39, 1426–1437 (1991).

  5. 5.

    , , & Carbohyd. Res. 113, 291–299 (1983).

  6. 6.

    PDF-2 Powder Diffraction Database (International Centre for Diffraction Data, Pennsylvania, 1999).

  7. 7.

    , , , & Food Chem. 49, 287–293 (1994).

  8. 8.

    Natural History (ed. Rackham, H.) 9 (Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1944).

  9. 9.

    in Dioscorides on Pharmacy and Medicine 153–154 (Univ. of Texas Press, 1985).

  10. 10.

    Toxicological Profile for Tin and Tin Compounds (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Public Health Service, 2003).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. *School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol BS8 1TS, UK

    • R. P. Evershed
    • , R. Berstan
    • , M. S. Copley
    • , A. J. H. Charmant
    •  & H. R. Mottram
  2. †Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN, UK

    • F. Grew
    •  & E. Barham
  3. ‡Pre-Construct Archaeology, Unit 54, Brockley Cross Business Centre, Endwell Road, London SE4 2PD, UK

    • G. Brown

Authors

  1. Search for R. P. Evershed in:

  2. Search for R. Berstan in:

  3. Search for F. Grew in:

  4. Search for M. S. Copley in:

  5. Search for A. J. H. Charmant in:

  6. Search for E. Barham in:

  7. Search for H. R. Mottram in:

  8. Search for G. Brown in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. P. Evershed.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/432035a

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.