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Study Finds Skin Cream Caused Egyptian Queen’s Death

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German scientists studying the contents of an ancient bottle may have found evidence of what killed Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most powerful women to ever rule over ancient Egypt.* When the scientists examined the contents of a 3,500-year-old bottle inscribed with the pharaoh’s name, they found traces of an ancient skincare ointment. Among the ingredients were creosote and asphalt, commonly found in creams used to treat chronic skin disease but known today to be cancer causing. “We have known for a long time that Hatshepsut had cancer and maybe even died from it,” said Michael Höveler-Müller of the University of Bonn. “If you imagine that the Queen had a chronic skin disease and that she found short-term improvement from the salve, she may have exposed herself to a great risk over the years.”

Study Finds Skin Cream Caused Egyptian Queen’s Death

German scientists studying the contents of an ancient bottle may have found evidence of what killed Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most powerful women to ever rule over ancient Egypt.

*“When a Woman Ruled Egypt,” BAR, March/April 2006.


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