2,000-year-old makeup palette found in Aizanoi

An excavation of the ancient city of Aizanoi in western Turkey has unearthed the remains of a cosmetics and jewelry shop in the city’s marketplace. Archaeologists discovered the shop in the agora area east of the Temple of Zeus. The type of shop it was identified by the many perfume bottles, beads from decorated accessories (hair pins, necklaces) and makeup kits still containing brightly-colored eye shadow and blush, almost all of them in shades of red and pink.

“We know that ancient Romans stored their eyeshadows and blushes in oyster shells and we found numerous oyster shells in the shops we were carrying out excavations in,” [Professor Gökhan Coşkun, the head of the Archaeology Department at Dumlupınar University,] said.

The professor said that archaeologists discovered makeup products of 10 different colors and different sorts of hair accessories and jewelry.

First settled in the Bronze Age around 3,000 years ago, Aizanoi rose to prominence as a regional capital in the later Kingdom of Phrygia (ca. 1200-700 B.C.) It was part of the Kingdom of Pergamum that was bequeathed to Rome by the last Attalid king, Attalus III, in 133 B.C. It reached its peak of prosperity under the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. when great monumental public buildings — temples, baths, a unique combined theater and stadium, the macellum (market) — were erected.

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