Recent Egyptian Ink Discovery

The results of a study on 12 ancient Egyptian papyri fragments dating to around 100-200 CE was recently published in PNAS. The study does not at all question the origins of the fragments and only means to investigate the ink based on the idea that the fragments have been properly dated.[1]

“The analysis shows that lead was probably used as a drier rather than as a pigment, similar to its usage in 15th century Europe during the development of oil paintings.”
– Christiansen, et al.[1]

Another discovery was made earlier this year about an Egyptian blue pigment which was used by the famous painter Raphael, as well as other Renaissance painters.[2] Both discoveries make me wonder just how separate in time these populations were. Did over a thousand years really pass between the two cultures using these types of inks and paints? More studies will need to be conducted before generating any informed convictions.

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References:

[1] – https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/10/22/2004534117.full.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov. 2020.

[2] – https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/forgotten-egyptian-blue-pigment-found-in-raphael-fresco/4012585.article. Accessed 4 Nov. 2020.

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