OLD­EST DRESS

Fortean Times - - Archæology -

The “Tarkhan Dress”, in the Petrie Mu­seum of Egyp­tian Archæology in Lon­don, was once part of a pile of dirty li­nen cloth ex­ca­vated by Sir Flin­ders Petrie in 1913 at the site he named Tarkhan af­ter a nearby vil­lage 30 miles (48km) from Cairo. In 1977, re­searchers from the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, sort­ing through the pile of tex­tiles as they pre­pared to clean them, dis­cov­ered the dress, re­mark­ably well pre­served. They con­served the fab­ric, sewed it onto a type of ex­tra-fine, trans­par­ent silk called Cre­pe­line to sta­bilise it, and mounted it for dis­play. The fine li­nen gar­ment has now been car­bon-dated to be­tween 3482 and 3103 BC, not only mak­ing it the old­est wo­ven gar­ment in the world, but also push­ing the date of li­nen back, per­haps to be­fore Egypt’s 1st Dy­nasty (ca. 3111–2906 BC). “With its pleated sleeves and bodice, to­gether with the V-neck de­tail, it’s a very fine piece of cloth­ing,” said Alice Steven­son, cu­ra­tor of the Petrie Mu­seum. “There’s noth­ing quite like it any­where of that qual­ity and date.” ar­chae­ol­ogy.org, 11 April, 12 Dec 2016.

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