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Scientists Recreate the Perfume of Cleopatra

A 2,000 year old scent thought to have been worn by Cleopatra the Queen of the Nile herself has been resurrected from a historic perfume recipe. They say things get better with age and this could be the ultimate example.

Prof. Robert Littman and Dr. Jay Silverstein are currently working at Tell Timai, or the ancient Egyptian city of Thmuis. The extensive UH Tell Timai Project has revealed many sights, sounds and – most importantly – smells. It’s a long way from their home turf at the University of Hawaii but, it seems, no less pleasing to the senses.

Discovering a raft of kilns dating to the 3rd century BCE, the team found “a manufacturing area for some sort of liquid” according to the University’s press release. This was with “an adjacent hoard of silver coins and gold and silver jewelry near the kilns suggesting that, possibly, the house of a perfume merchant had been uncovered.”


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