It is dark outside. It's definitely morning, but no sign of dawn just yet. Tapputi is already hard at work in the palace laboratory, continuing her work from the previous evening. Her distillation apparatus containing calamus flowers, stems, oil and myrrh has been bubbling away overnight and now was the time to start the lengthy clarification and filtration processes. After separating different parts of the mixture, discarding most it, and sieving the result several times, the aromatic concoction is returned to the still along with some balsam and the fire is rekindled underneath. She stirs the mixture continuously.

When the first rays of sunlight begin to pour into the lab, Tapputi's work is almost done. The time has come to let the fire under the still die down so the apparatus can be cooled. The resulting fragrant liquid is then poured through a filter cloth into flasks. The perfume is ready. Unfortunately for her assistant, the equipment needs to be thoroughly cleaned in order to start the process all over again that evening. Such is the life of a Bronze Age Mesopotamian Perfumer.

Read on to find out how perfume changed the world, and how the world changed perfume!

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