Examination of a mummy has revealed the original ancient Egyptian embalming recipe, first used to preserve bodies.
A battery of forensic chemical tests carried out on a mummy that dated from 3,700-3,500 BC revealed the recipe and confirmed that it was developed far earlier and used more widely than previously thought.
The Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, is now home to the mummy in question.
The findings are published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
An archaeologist from the University of York, Dr Stephen Buckley said that this mummy “literally embodies the embalming that was at the heart of Egyptian mummification for 4,000 years”.
Dr Buckley and his colleagues worked out the chemical “fingerprint” of every ingredient, although each element could have come from a number of sources.