A fascinating piece of history from ancient Mesopotamia.
The first chemist in recorded history…
Tapputi, a perfumer, is not only the first known female chemist, but the first chemist of any gender known to history. Her title, Belatekallium, meant female overseer, which tells us that she worked at the Royal Palace in Mesopotamia.
The making of perfume or aromata was an important industry in ancient Mesopotamian life. The preparation of the materials was extensive and highly technical. We know of Tapputi from a cuneiform tablet which bears her name as well as her own recipe for a perfume which describes using oil, flowers, myrrh and calamus to be distilled and filtered with water. This also is the first known reference to a still.
If you prepare flowers, oil and calamus as a salve, and you have tested the flowers; you set up… a distillatory. You put good potable water [into a hairu pot]. You heat…
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