Radiocarbon dating ancient egypt


22-May-2020 14:54

Here we extend radiocarbon dating to lead carbonate, an inorganic material. We also show that natural and manufactured make-up powders can be discriminated by radiocarbon.We find that cerussite used for cosmetics was a natural mineral during the Egyptian Kingdom and then a synthesized compound manufactured by the ancient Greeks.The cosmetics were selected on the basis of their known archeological context and chemical composition.Small samples of powders (10–50 mg) containing two forms of lead carbonate were collected: phosgenite (Pb).The radiocarbon dates nail down a chronology that is broadly in line with previous estimates.However, they do rule out some chronologies that have been put forward particularly in the Old Kingdom, which is shown to be older than some scholars thought.

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Here we demonstrate the ability of radiocarbon to date archeological and historical lead carbonates and to discriminate natural and synthesized cosmetics.We provide a tool to directly date lead carbonate-based materials such as ancient cosmetics and paintings.