World’s oldest garment is over 5,000 years old

DID YOU KNOW?
World’s oldest garment is over 5,000 years old
An over-5,000-year-old linen dress was recently confirmed as the world’s oldest woven garment. The Tarkhan Dress, named for the Tarkhan cemetery south of Cairo in Egypt where it was excavated, had a long road to its title, from its use as clothing and then a shroud, and later being lost amidst a grimy bundle of overlooked textile.

DID YOU KNOW?

World’s oldest garment is over 5,000 years old

An over-5,000-year-old linen dress was recently confirmed as the world’s oldest woven garment. The Tarkhan Dress, named for the Tarkhan cemetery south of Cairo in Egypt where it was excavated, had a long road to its title, from its use as clothing and then a shroud, and later being lost amidst a grimy bundle of overlooked textile.

The V-neck dress is on view at the University College London (UCL) Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, with its flax fibre linen stitched carefully over a modern silk shirt, so as to exhibit it in its intended dimensions. The “dress” title is a bit of speculation, as no one can confirm the original length of the textile. Flinders Petrie unearthed the dress from a tomb in 1913. It wasn’t identified until 1977, when it was transported with other weathered textiles to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for conservation.

Previously, researchers believed that the oldest clothes were discovered in China. In 2014, a team of archaeologists led by Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, excavated tombs in Yanghai in western China. There, they uncovered the remains of two nomadic herders and a pair of trousers with woven patterns, which were dated to be 3,000 years old. These are the oldest-known pair of trousers found to date. The discovery also supports the theory about an evolution from tunics to trousers, which were more practical for horse-riders of the time.


An over-5,000-year-old linen dress was recently confirmed as the world’s oldest woven garment. The Tarkhan Dress, named for the Tarkhan cemetery south of Cairo in Egypt where it was excavated, had a long road to its title, from its use as clothing and then a shroud, and later being lost amidst a grimy bundle of overlooked textile.

The V-neck dress is on view at the University College London (UCL) Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, with its flax fibre linen stitched carefully over a modern silk shirt, so as to exhibit it in its intended dimensions. The “dress” title is a bit of speculation, as no one can confirm the original length of the textile. Flinders Petrie unearthed the dress from a tomb in 1913. It wasn’t identified until 1977, when it was transported with other weathered textiles to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for conservation.

Previously, researchers believed that the oldest clothes were discovered in China. In 2014, a team of archaeologists led by Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, excavated tombs in Yanghai in western China. There, they uncovered the remains of two nomadic herders and a pair of trousers with woven patterns, which were dated to be 3,000 years old. These are the oldest-known pair of trousers found to date. The discovery also supports the theory about an evolution from tunics to trousers, which were more practical for horse-riders of the time.