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4,000-year-old cosmetics shop

4,000-year-old cosmetics shop found in Cyprus

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Archaeologists have unearthed a unique 4,000 year-old cosmetics workshop at the Pyrgos-Mavroraki archaeological site in Limassol, Cyprus.  It is the first time that evidence has been found of cosmetics produced for commercial use dating back to the Bronze Age. The discovery was described as “a complete surprise”.

Archaeologists unearthed 70 stone palettes used to mix ingredients, 50 pestles and ochre nuggets in the ruins of a building, which also contained an 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," said University of Cyprus archaeology professor Demetris Michaelides.

All previous discoveries of cosmetics both in Cyprus and elsewhere have been for personal use.

"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," said Maria Rosaria Begiorno, , head of the Italian archaeological mission. "At Pyrgos the palettes for cosmetics were linked to a workshop which means the cosmetics were produced for sale and not for personal use. “

The excavations also revealed that cosmetics weren’t the only luxurious goods that were manufactured and sold there.  Evidence was also found for the production of prestigious products such as perfumes, medicines, bronzes, textiles and wine.

By April Holloway

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