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Carbon-14 provides direct evidence of synthetic chemicals in ancient cosmetics   


Absolute dating of lead carbonates in ancient cosmetics by radiocarbon, Communications Chemistry, Lucile Beck, Ingrid Caffy, Emmanuelle Delqué-Količ, Christophe Moreau, Jean-Pascal Dumoulin, Marion Perron, Hélène Guichard, Violaine Jeammet – DOI : 10.1038/s42004-018-0034-y

Thanks to the measurement of carbon-14 in lead carbonates for the first time ever, French researchers have been able to distinguish between chemicals of natural origin and chemicals obtained by chemical synthesis in ancient cosmetics. The result is published by the Laboratory for the Measurement of Carbon-14 (CEA/CNRS/IRD/IRSN/Ministry of Culture) in association with the Musée du Louvre on 28 June 2018 in Communications Chemistry (Nature group of publications).

Lead carbonate is one of the main compounds in art and archaeology, used as an ingredient in paint and cosmetics since ancient times. Carbon-14 (radiocarbon) dating by accelerator mass spectrometry is usually carried out on organic remains — wood, charcoal, bone, etc. — into which radioactive carbon is incorporated by photosynthesis or ingestion.

On 28 June 2018, in Communications Chemistry, a team from the Laboratory for the Measurement of Carbon-14 (*) in association with the Louvre (**) is publishing the results of the very first measurement of carbon-14 in lead carbonates. The technique has never been used until now on this type of compound. The development of this measurement technique constitutes the main novelty of the study.

CP-C14-cosmetiques-antiquité-en-copie.docx (701 Ko)


A. Mazaud, 2018-08-23
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