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Deadly medication?
Date:8/19/2011

The corpus delicti is a plain flacon from among the possessions of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who lived around 1450 B.C., which is on exhibit in the permanent collection of the Egyptian Museum of the University of Bonn. For three and a half millennia, the vessel may have held a deadly secret. This is what the Head of the collection, Michael Hveler-Mller and Dr. Helmut Wiedenfeld from the university's Pharmacology Institute just discovered. After two years of research it is now clear that the flacon did not hold a perfume; instead, it was a kind of skin care lotion or even medication for a monarch suffering from eczema. In addition, the pharmacologists found a strongly carcinogenic substance. Was Hatshepsut killed by her medicine?

When Michael Hveler-Mller became the curator of the Egyptian Museum of the University of Bonn in 2009, it occurred to him to examine the interior of the vessel that, according to an inscription, belonged to Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Its neck had been blocked with what was generally considered "dirt," but Hveler-Mller suspected that it might also be the original clay stopper. So possibly, some of the original contents might still be inside. In Dr. Helmut Wiedenfeld from the Pharmacy Institute, he found just the right partner, to get to the bottom of this question and of the flacon.

At the Radiology Clinic of the Bonn Universittsklinikum, the flacon was subjected to a CAT scan. Here, the Egyptologist's suspicion was confirmed not only was the closure intact, but the vessel also held residue of a dried-up liquid. In the summer of 2009, Professor Dr. Friedrich Bootz from the Klinik und Poliklinik fr Hals-, Nasen- und Ohrenheilkunde (laryngology, rhinology and otology) of the University of Bonn took samples, using an endoscope.

Too greasy for perfume

This allowed Dr. Wiedenfeld and his team to analyze the old substances for their ingredients. And it became obvious very quickly that what they had found was not
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Contact: Michael Hoeveler-Mueller
aegyptisches-museum@uni-bonn.de
49-228-739-710
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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