Secret! Scientists recreate ‘scent of eternity’ and replicate balms used on Egyptian mummies

In other strange news on the Internet, scientists have recreated a balm to find out what Egyptian mummies apparently smelled like.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers successfully identified and replicated the fragrance of a balm used in the intricate mummification of an ancient Egyptian noblewoman around 1450 BC.

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Scientists recreate how mummies smell

The unique balm that was applied to the mummies during their mummification consisted of ingredients such as beeswax, vegetable oil, fats, shoe polish, Pinaceae resins, a balsamic substance, and dammar, or resin from the Pistacia tree, revealing its complex composition. .

This ersatz potpourri served as a salve used to preserve a high-ranking Senetnay, a prominent wet nurse, who was bestowed the title “King’s Ornament” under the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep II.

Remarkably, the scent of this ancient individual, whose mummy has been exceptionally well preserved, has been recreated and will go on display at Denmark’s Moesgaard Museum this fall. The recreated smell is called “internity scent”. A model of an inscribed jar dedicated to Senetnay is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum.

The scientists used the organic elements left in the empty jars to formulate the scent.

Scientists recreate the smell of an Egyptian mummyPexel

Writing about the balm, one researcher noted, “These are the richest and most complex balms yet identified for this early period.” They added: “They highlight both the exceptional status of Senetnay and the myriad trading connections of the Egyptians in the second millennium BCE.”

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The scientists successfully replicated the fragrances using only the residual organic remains found at the bottom of the empty jars. Their findings also revealed that different odors were used in the mummification process, adapted to an individual’s social role.

One expert pointed out The Guardian“To our nose, the warm, resinous, pine-like odors of larch might remind us more of cleaning products, and the sulfurous smell of shoe polish might remind us of asphalt. But to the Egyptians, these odors clearly had a lot of of other meanings related to spirituality and social status.”

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