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Radiocarbon dating ancient egypt

This volume presents the findings of a major international project on the application of radiocarbon dating to the Egyptian historical chronology.

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Cranfield in the UK, along with a team from France, Austria and Israel, radiocarbon dated more than 200 Egyptian objects made from plant material from museum collections from all over the world.

To highlight the novelty of our approach we report here results obtained on well-preserved Egyptian and Greek ancient cosmetics.

They are held at the Louvre museum in their original containers in wood, reed or alabaster (Fig. The objects were associated to identified Egyptian or Greek tombs and dated from the 3rd millennium to the 3rd century BC (for more information on the samples, see Methods and Supplementary Table 1).

Based on a purposely designed protocol (Methods), radiocarbon measurements are performed on ancient Egyptian and Greek make-up held at the Louvre museum.

(a) in a wooden cylinder (E 22326, 10 cm high and 4.4 cm diameter), one of the four channels is visible, (b) in an alabaster vase (E 23092, 4.9 cm high, 5.1 cm diameter) and, (c) in a 2.5 diameter wooden box (AGER-CA 508) © Musée du Louvre, LMC14, C2RMFThe radiocarbon dating of five samples of powder provided dates coherent with the expected age of the cosmetics (Table 1 and Supplementary Table 2).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).We provide a tool to directly date lead carbonate-based materials such as ancient cosmetics and paintings.Recrystallization of lead carbonate in cosmetics or paintings is unlikely to be problematic for radiocarbon dating as for other carbonates such as shells and some mortar due to lack of exposure to water.

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The results comprise an accurate scientifically based chronology of the kings of ancient Egypt obtained by the radiocarbon analysis of short-lived plant remains.