The first written evidence discovered about the use of perfumes can be found in the civilizations of Mesopotamia, the cultural birthplace of Western civilization. Many recipes for the preparation of ointments and perfumes, and others that refer to products used in their making, have been found among the clay tablets that the Sumerians used to write, and which tell us about their culture and customs.
Archaeology is another important source of knowledge about the past and therefore a great resource for understanding and studying perfume in the ancient world. The archaeological discovery of the tomb of Puabi, a queen who lived around 2,600 BC, tells us that she used cosmetics; a small spoon and pot for storing paint for lips were found in her tomb. There are many quotations referring to fragrances and cosmetics in the stories, hymns and epic poems of Sumerian literature, particularly that of Gilgamesh.