An ancient skincare ointment may have been the cause behind the death of the most powerful Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, a recent study has revealed.

According to German scientists, traces of skin cream have been found in a 3,500-year-old ancient flask, believed to have belonged to Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt between 1503 and 1482 BC during the heyday of ancient Egypt's power.

The skin ointment was found to contain creosote and asphalt, which were used to treat chronic skin diseases in ancient times but today are known carcinogenic substances, researchers said.

The second pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut is believed to have died of cancer but the cause of cancer was not known.

“We have known for a long time that Hatshepsut had cancer and maybe even died from it,” said Michael Höveler-Müller, the Queen’s collection’s curator at the Egyptian Museum at University of Bonn, told media.

“We may now know the actual cause. If you imagine that the Queen had a chronic skin disease and that she found short-term improvement from the salve, she may have exposed herself to a great risk over the years,” he added.

According to Egyptologists, Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs and perhaps one of the handful of female rulers in ancient Egypt. Her reign was the longest of all the female pharaohs of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty.

A funerary temple dedicated to the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt is located in West Bank of Luxor, around 650 km (404 miles) south of Cairo and is regarded as a tribute to Hatshepsut’s incredible rise to power.


A mummy identified as Queen Hatshepsut is displayed at the Egyptian museum in Cairo June 27, 2007. Egyptologists think they have identified with certainty the mummy of Hatshepsut, the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt, found in a humble tomb in the Valley of the Kings. REUTERS/Nasser Nuri



A statue of the Sphinx of Hatshepsut is displayed at the opening of a new exhibit in Cairo. REUTERS/Tara Todras-Whitehill



Lights illuminate the ancient Egyptian Temple of Queen Hatshepsut in West Bank of Luxor. The temple dates from about 1,480 B.C.E. REUTERS/Amr Dalsh



Tourists walk on the stairs leading to Queen Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor, around 650 km (404 miles) south of Cairo, February 14, 2010. Hatshepsut was the second pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She is generally regarded by Egyptologists