Garments from ancient times have survived to the present day. Those clothing were nothing more than a cover around the body. However, the “Tarkhan Dress,” named after the Egyptian town was discovered in 1913, is exquisitely stitched. It was precisely dated using the most recent radiocarbon dating technology around five years ago. The linen dress with fine detail, according to researchers, dates from between 3482 and 3103 B.C., making it the world’s oldest woven garment.
Alice Stevenson, a curator of London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, says that textiles recovered from archaeological sites are typically no older than 2,000 years. Meanwhile, researches show that the Tarkhan Dress dates back more than 5,000 years and may have been longer when it was new.
The Tarkhan dress: Ancient Discovery
According to archaeology.org, it was once part of a “huge pile of dirty linen cloth” excavated in 1913 by Sir Flinders Petrie at the site he called Tarkhan after a nearby village 30 miles south of Cairo. Researchers from the Victoria and Albert Museum were cleaning a big pile of dirty linen cloth in 1977 when they came across the finely crafted Tarkhan Dress.
Despite its age, the V-neck linen shirt with pleated sleeves and bodice was in excellent condition, with creases at the elbows and armpits indicating that it had been worn previously.
The researchers preserved the fabric by sewing it onto Crepeline silk and then presented it for display. Because of the tomb’s age in which it was found, it was quickly dubbed Egypt’s oldest garment and the world’s oldest woven garment. However, since the tomb where the garment was discovered had been looted, researchers could not determine the dress’s exact age.
Conducting the Research
When linen from the dress was studied using a new technique called accelerator mass spectrometry in the 1980s, it was thought to date from the late third millennium BC. Nevertheless, according to researchers, this date was too broad.
In 2015, the University of Oxford’s radiocarbon unit analyzed a sample from the dress weighing just 2.24mg. The findings revealed that the Tarkhan Dress is thought to date from 3482 to 3102 B.C. and may also predate Egypt’s 1st Dynasty (ca. 3111–2906 B.C.).
“We’d always suspected it was ancient, and even if it wasn’t close to the 1st Dynasty, a 5th Dynasty dress is still pretty old by archaeological standards for this type of object,” Stevenson said at the time, adding that the recent dating had confirmed her knowledge of the garment.
The fineness of the garment demonstrates that ancient African civilizations were incredible. Other than the dress, archeologists have uncovered many African artifacts that looked incredible.
And the best part is most of such findings are kept in African museums of specific countries of origin. They help educate on the culture of the ancient communities and serve as a source of income when foreigners come to view them. Preserving ancient culture is like a plus, as it shows the need for and appreciation of past events.