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30 December 2013
Bronze Age cosmetics revealed in Cyprus

Archaeologists have unearthed a unique 4,000 year-old workshop of cosmetics dating to the early Bronze Age at the Pyrgos-Mavroraki archaeologigal site in Limassol (Cyprus).
     All previous discoveries elsewhere have been of cosmetics for personal use, head of the Italian archaeological mission working at Pyrgos, Maria Rosaria Begiorno said. "This is a unique discovery as in Egypt, palettes were found but they were linked to tombs and were therefore evidence that they were cosmetics for personal use. At Pyrgos the palettes for cosmetics were linked to a workshop which means the cosmetics were produced for sale and not for personal use. This is the most recent archaeological site at Pyrgos," Belgiorno said, adding: "There is no evidence that the cosmetics were used in the late Bronze Age so it is believed they date around 2,000 BCE in the early Bronze Age."
     Addressing the seminar entitled 'Archeometry and Charm: Copper, Gender and the Music of Silk,' University of Cyprus archaeology professor Demetris Michaelides described the excavations at Pyrgos as a 'complete surprise.' According to a news release issued on the seminar, during the 2012 excavation season, a workshop of cosmetics, documented by the presence of 70 stone palettes to mix the ingredients, 50 pestles and ochre nuggets was found in a peculiar building, displaying an unusual inner court.
     "In the same room a rare workshop for trinket jewellery made of picrolite and shell, including 37 different pieces of picrolite and 58 shells was identified. Archeometry investigations revealed that the processed minerals and substances came from the surrounding area and that, within the limits of the samples examined, there were few ingredients coming from abroad."
     The excavations have brought to light the industrial area of an Early-Middle Bronze age settlement, which was in a dominant position overlooking the village. "In fact, the structures brought to light belong to laboratories and workshops that produced prestigious products such as perfumes, medicines, bronzes, textiles and wine," the release said.

Edited from InCyprus (30 December 2013)

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