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A new material dated by radiocarbon

We have developed a new protocol to date an inorganic material used since Antiquity. This paper presents the first absolute dating of lead carbonate and the first absolute dating of ancient cosmetics

Go to the profile of Lucile Beck
Jun 29, 2018
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The paper "Absolute dating of lead carbonates in ancient cosmetics by radiocarbon" in Communications Chemistry is here:

go.nature.com/2yULhBg

Radiocarbon dating is usually applied to organic materials - wood, charcoal, bone, etc. - which incorporate radioactive carbon through photosynthesis or ingestion. This technique has had a profound impact on archaeology as it enables the dating of the remains of ancient civilizations.

In this paper, we extend the application of radiocarbon dating to a new material: lead carbonate. This material is of crucial importance for art and archaeology since it has been used for more than two millennia as cosmetics and pigments.

Here, Egyptian and Greek make-up powders are dated but our protocol will also provide a new tool for the authentication of paintings!

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks were very good in chemistry! Thanks to them, innovative chemistry is possible today!

Go to the profile of Lucile Beck

Lucile Beck

Head of laboratory, CEA

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