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Marie Celestia wreck offers up cargo of perfume

Perfume bottles are the latest treasure to have been recovered from Bermuda wreck

Marie Celestia.

Phillippe Rouja, conservator of historic wrecks, announced the discovery of the bottles this week. Five unopened bottles of wine were found stashed in the bow of the

Marie Celestia this past June.

Analysis and research have revealed that two bottles recovered from the wreck are indeed 19th century cologne and perfume. Both bottles were discovered intact with their original content undisturbed.

The cologne resembled a green-yellow liquid and was located inside a narrow, clear bottle embossed with “Murray & Lanman, Florida Water, No. 69 Water Street, New-York”.

The company still makes Florida Water based on their original 1808 formula after 203 years of business.

The bottle found here is the oldest known sample and the historic company has offered to analyse the bottle’s contents.

A sealed bottle containing clear liquid said to be perfume was also uncovered.

UK perfume historian David Pybus, who has uncovered perfume from the

Titanic, has begun his analysis on the bottle’s contents.

Early research has revealed that the bottle contains a sample from a posh London perfumery that has since gone out of business.

Wooden shoes and a wooden hairbrush were also discovered aboard the

Marie Celestia.

Such items were considered luxuries during the US Civil War and were probably being sold by the crew on the black market.

Items such as wine, perfume and shoes were banned by the Confederates in 1864, the year the

Marie Celestia sank off the South Shore. Such items were rare commodities.

“The presence of the perfume and cologne add a new, human dimension to the finds in the bow,” Dr Rouja said.

An article about the wreck, appearing on the National Geographic website confirmed the international appeal of the story.

In addition, John-Pierre Rouja of LookBermuda/LookFilms is producing a documentary about the excavation of the Mary Celestia.

According to Jim Butterfield, one of the film’s sponsors: “This international exposure helps showcase Bermuda’s most incredible marine environment which has world class wreck sites for all those that like to snorkel in shallow water.”

The bow of the Confederate paddle steamer Marie Celestia emerges from the sands off South Shore. Consrvation Services will this summer work to rescue artifacts at the diving landmark.

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Published August 22, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 22, 2011 at 10:09 am)

Marie Celestia wreck offers up cargo of perfume

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