I learned a great deal from my early years of
I read more about the subject and discovered that I
enjoyed the history of perfumery more than creating
my own essential oils and blends. I did try my hand at
more complex extraction techniques and explored a
number of chemistry based extraction processes.
I found it far easier to simply purchase good oils from
commercial vendors while understanding the process
fragrant oils are derived from. What scents I still
extract are simple and easy.
During the peak of my interest I encountered an
exhibition sponsored by Emory University in Atlanta.
The exhibition was titled The Fragrant Past:
Perfumes of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. The exhibition
was held at the Emory University Museum of Art and
Archaeology between April 5th and June 25th of 1989.
This exhibition and the replicas of ancient perfumes
that I purchased at this event inspired the creation
of this web page.
Much of what I have to offer on this web page
is derived from various sources that I've encountered over the
years. Knowing this, I will make every attempt of documenting
my sources so that others may follow my thread of thought and
research. To support this activity I have included a complete
bibliography and links at the end of this work. I strongly encourage
anyone even vaguely interested in perfume to purchase The
Fragrant Past : Perfumes of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar from
the Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology.
Within the catalog of the exhibit Professor Giuseppe
Donato describes how he first became involved in process of experimental
archaeology. His research began sometime during the mid nineteen-seventies
as a researcher from the Service of Archeological Subsidiary
Sciences, "a multi-disciplinary research center investigating
archaeological questions with the help of the most sophisticated
technology available." His first research placed him in
Romania to study the contents of a tomb of the first century
A.D. located in Mangalia, by the Black Sea.
"Among the most important objects recovered
from this sepulcher were the remains of a 'beauty' case containing
glass vials and bottles with traces of aromatic products. . .
The challenge. . . was the reconstruction of a number of ancient
perfumes or, more exactly, ointments. The rediscovery of ancient
perfumes one of the funda mental amenities of life in ancient
society . . ."