A fascinating well-preserved canister, containing a white cream, has been found at the site of an ancient Roman temple in London. The cylinder container, with a white cream inside revealing the user’s fingerprints, could offer unprecedented insights into rituals and use of cosmetics 2000 years ago.
Archaeologists assume that the white cream, found in a well-sealed cylindrical tub, may either be a face cream or a face paint, and the canister was probably buried in a ritual offering, they claim.
Gary Brown, managing director of Pre-Construct Archaeology whose team of archaeologists have been painstakingly excavating the Tabard Square site over the past year, told Guardian: “I am astounded,” said”It appears to be a kind of cosmetic cream or ointment. Creams of this kind do not ordinarily survive into the archaeological record, so this is a unique find.”
The sealed container was unearthed on a site at the junction between two major Roman roads in Southwark, near the river Thames. The site, dating from 50 AD, contained two 11-metre-square Roman-Celtic temples, between which was a large yard suitable for mass worship.