Vintage threads

Egyptian dress confirmed as world’s oldest woven garment

(Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology)

Who would’ve guessed that V-necks have been in style for so long? University of Oxford scientists recently confirmed that the Tarkhan Dress — once believed to be Egypt’s oldest garment — is actually the oldest surviving woven garment in the world. Radiocarbon dating of a 2.24mg sample of the fabric suggests with 95 percent accuracy that the ivory-colored dress was made between 3484 and 3104 BC. “We’ve always suspected that the dress dated from the First Dynasty but haven’t been able to confirm this as the sample previously needed for testing would have caused too much damage to the dress,” Dr. Alice Stevenson of the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian explained. “Although the result is a little less precise than is now routinely possible through radiocarbon dating, as the sample was so small, it’s clear that the linen for the dress was made at the cusp of the First Dynasty or even earlier.”

The dress was first excavated from a Tarkhan tomb in 1913, but lay unstudied until 1977, when it was sent for conservation with other textiles to the Victoria and Albert Museum in England. The cut of the dress indicates it was made to fit a young teenager or slim woman, though the hem is missing.

Read the full story at UCL News.

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