View Full Version : Tarkhan Dress is world’s oldest known woven garment

Jean M
02-19-2016, 09:41 PM
The Tarkhan Dress, a V-neck linen shirt currently on display in the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, has been confirmed as the world’s oldest known woven garment with radiocarbon testing dating the garment to the late fourth-millennium BC.


Radiocarbon testing conducted in 2015 by the University of Oxford’s radiocarbon unit, and published this week on Antiquity’s Project Gallery, has established that the dress was made between 3482-3102 BC with 95% accuracy.


Although the dress was thought to be Egypt’s oldest garment, and the oldest surviving woven garment in the world, the precise age of the dress was uncertain as previous carbon dating proved too broad to be historically meaningful. The new results both confirm the dress’s antiquity and also suggest that it may be older than previously thought, pre-dating the First Dynasty.
Composed of flax fibres

The team from the University of Oxford, led by Dr Michael Dee, measured a 2.24mg sample of the dress to determine how much radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon, remained in the linen. From this they were able to provide an indicative date for when the linen was woven. Linen, from which the Tarkhan Dress is made, is especially suitable for radiocarbon dating as it is composed of flax fibres that grow over a relatively short time.