The world's oldest woven garment, a V-neck linen shirt excavated by Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1913 from a First Dynasty tomb in the Egyptian cemetery of Tarkhan near Cairo, has been confirmed as the world's oldest woven garment, according to the University College of London (UCL). Radiocarbon testing conducted at Oxford University revealed that the garment dates back to the late fourth century B.C.
"The dress itself is made from three pieces of sturdy, hand-woven linen with a natural pale grey stripe with knife-pleated sleeves and bodice," the UCL revealed in a news release. The dress was initially thought to be Egypt's oldest garment and the latest results confirm the dress's antiquity. It was previously undiscovered, hidden among other textiles until 1977. Dr. Alice Stevenson, curator at the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, said that "The survival of highly perishable textiles in the archaeological record is exceptional, the survival of complete, or almost complete, articles of clothing like the Tarkhan dress is even more remarkable. We've always suspected that the dress dated back to the First Dynasty but were unable to confirm this because the sample previously needed testing and this would have caused extensive damage to the dress. Although the result is a little less precise compared to other results found through radiocarbon dating and due to the small size of the sample, it's clear that the linen for the dress was made at the cusp of the First Dynasty or even earlier."
The Tarkhan dress, which is believed to have been worn by elite members of the dynasty, can be seen at the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.
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