The recent discovery of ancient cosmetic and makeup products used by Roman women in the ancient city of Aizanoi in western Turkey highlights the long history of human fascination with beauty and personal adornment.
Archaeologists have uncovered 2,000-year-old shops in Aizanoi that sold cosmetic products such as perfumes, jewelry, and makeup materials. Among these discoveries were various beads belonging to products like hairpins and necklaces used by women. Gokhan Coskun, the head of the excavation, confirmed that the remnants were indeed makeup materials used by Roman women.
One of the most surprising findings was the discovery of makeup pigments similar to blush and eyeshadow used today. The researchers found a range of samples, mostly small pieces measuring 1 or 2 millimeters. They also encountered a large number of oyster shells in the shop they excavated. In the Roman Empire, makeup materials such as blush and eyeshadow were often placed inside oyster shells for use.
The predominant colors discovered in the makeup pigments were red and pink, with different shades found. This finding provides insight into the beauty practices of Roman women and their preferences for certain colors.
Aizanoi, located 35 miles from the Kutahya city center, was once a thriving city during the second and third centuries AD. It became the center of the episcopacy in the Byzantine era. Recent excavations around the Temple of Zeus have revealed several levels of settlement dating back to 3000 BCE. The city was captured by the Roman Empire in 133 BCE.
The discovery of ancient cosmetic and makeup products in Aizanoi adds to our understanding of Roman beauty practices and the importance of personal adornment in ancient civilizations. It also highlights the longevity of human fascination with beauty and the ways in which individuals have sought to enhance their appearance throughout history.