During excavation work that was being conducted in Aizanoi, which is located in the Kütahya province of Turkey, archaeologists made the extremely rare discovery of a 2,200-year-old jar of eye cream inside a tomb.
As the Daily Sabah reported, archaeologists believe that this ancient cream would have once been used to treat dryness around areas of the eye, also known as Xerophthalmia, and would have been an indispensable item for its owner.
Professor Elif Özer, who headed up the excavation, explained that the purpose of the archaeological work here had been to learn more about funerary practices as they were conducted by the residents living in Aizanoi at the time, and that archaeologists have been busy excavating the main necropolis in Aizanoi when they stumbled upon the 2,200-year-old eye cream.
According to Professor Özer, the previous contents of the jar were easy to identify as during ancient Roman times, jars of this kind would have been used to hold eye cream inside of them, and archaeologists note that in this case, the eye cream would have most likely belonged to a soldier as it was found inside a male soldier’s tomb.
“We know this jar was used for keeping eye cream in Ancient Rome era. When we read the texts of the writers from the ancient times, we can determine that this jar was used by soldiers. Ancient sources say that Roman soldiers in Egypt used eye cream to treat eye dryness. We found this jar in a male’s tomb believed to be a soldier.”
2,200-year-old jar containing cream to cure eye dryness found during excavation of soldier's tomb in ancient city of Aizanoi in western Turkey's Kütahya provincehttps://t.co/dg4oJa2r8D pic.twitter.com/6yv2keytXk— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) September 5, 2018
Archaeologists have also determined the plant that would have been used to concoct this 2,200-year-old eye cream would have been plucked from Lycia, which is in the south of Turkey, although it can also be found in India. In fact, this treatment for dry eyes was so popular that it stayed in use up until the very end of the 18th century.
It is Özer’s belief that friends and family members of the solider may have placed the jar of eye cream inside of the soldier’s tomb in case he needed it in the afterlife, as grave goods were commonly left behind for the deceased as it was believed that they would carry it with them afterward.
The recent excavations in Turkey were conducted by 55 people, which included academics and students of archaeology, and it is reported that the city of Aizanoi was considered important enough to have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2012.
The jar of 2,2000-year-old eye cream that was found can now be seen at the Kütahya Archaeology Museum in Turkey.