History of Wax - Science
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Bees make wax as part of their normal lives.

People have probably been using beeswax for as long as they have been collecting honey from beehives, which is as long as there have been people alive. In the ancient world, where there was no plastic or any other kind of petroleum or rubber, people used beeswax for all kinds of things.

People also used beeswax in medicine - to fill cavities in teeth.

Artists mixed beeswax with colors to make paint, and they painted with this wax on wooden tablets. Coating wooden tablets with wax also made a very common writing surface for temporary records, much cheaper than papyrus or parchment.

People also used wax to seal letters and baskets closed, so they would know if anyone had opened them.

Medieval uses of wax: as candles.

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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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