Research press release


Communications Chemistry

Communications Chemistry: Carbon dating ancient cosmetics

古代ギリシャと古代エジプトの化粧品について、年代を直接測定できる新しい方法を紹介する論文が、今週Communications Chemistry に掲載される。考古学者がこの方法を用いれば、古代以降に生み出された芸術品や化粧品の年代を測定できるようになるかもしれない。


Lucile Beckたちの論文には、炭酸鉛の年代を測定する方法が示されている。Beckたちは、この方法を用いて紀元前1500~200年のものとされる古代エジプトと古代ギリシャの墓から見つかった化粧用品の試料の年代を測定した。この方法は、製造当時に炭酸鉛に取り込まれた炭素に依存するため、天然顔料と人工の試料を区別できる。


The age of ancient Greek and Egyptian make-up can now be determined directly using a new method described in a paper published this week in Communications Chemistry. Archaeologists may also be able to use this method to date art and cosmetics made since antiquity.

White pigments used until the 19th century often contained lead carbonates. Inorganic samples such as lead carbonate are difficult to date directly, as carbon dating is mostly used for biological material, such as bone. Although lead carbonates contain radiocarbon, until now there was no method to carbon date the chemical compound directly.

Lucile Beck and authors now provide a way to measure the age of lead carbonates. The authors use the method to determine the age of make-up samples found in ancient Egyptian and Greek tombs dating from 1500-200 BC. Since this method relies on carbon incorporated into the lead carbonate at the time it was made, natural pigments can be distinguished from man-made samples.

The authors suggest that this method offers archaeologists a valuable way to date ancient materials. It may also be used to date art and paintings, since lead carbonate was used as a common white pigment throughout history.

doi: 10.1038/s42004-018-0034-y


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