A number of researchers from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, together with researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, analyzed the inks in a number of ancient Egyptian papyri.
The ancient Egyptians used two types of inks: black and red ink, while black ink used to write the main text, while they used red ink to write titles prominently, as well as for instructions and keywords.
Scientists used powerful x-rays to study both red ink and black ink with papyrus in the library of the Umm Al-Barijat temple in Fayoum. Umm Al-Barijat flourished in the Greek era, despite the region’s ancient history since the Pharaonic era, and through it, the inks of 12 papyrus papers found in the library analyzed.
Researchers say that it is strange that lead was found added to the ink mixture, but the study proved that this lead was not a pigment, but rather a dried ink substance to fix ink on papyrus, which is similar to what Europeans used during the fifteenth century by artists of oil painting.
The researchers concluded that lead is not a pigment and did not find any other type of lead such as white or aluminum in these writings.
Egyptologist Thomas Christiansen, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen and one of the study participants, says that not using lead in writing as a dry substance indicates that the ink used in writing in ancient Egypt had complex descriptions and formulations that we do not know the nature of until this moment.
Scientists also discovered the lead used is a complex mixture of several different elements, including lead phosphate, potassium lead sulfate, lead carboxylate, and lead chloride.
Scientists were also able to identify that the red color in the ink extracted from the ocher stone and that its red pigment was coarse grains.
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