BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The oldest fabric dyed in blue was discovered in Peru. This means that people knew and used this color 6,200 years ago. The other ancient sample of blue-dyed fabric dates back to the Ancient Egyptian civilization, 4,400 years ago. The indigo blue has been mentioned in writing, too, 5,000 years ago in the Middle East.
Jeffrey Splitstoser is an archaeologist at the George Washington University. He notes that the people from the American continent left their mark on science and technology early in history, compared to people in other areas of the world. He also points out that it’s a mistake to leave these people out of the great catalog of civilizations.
The dyed fabrics are small remains of woven cotton. They were brought to light by archaeologists through excavation, back in 2007 and 2008. They found the fabrics at a prehistoric location called Huaca Prieta. It lies in the northern part of the city of Trujillo in Peru.
Huaca Prieta was a type of ancient temple – according to Splitstoser. The building material for the temple was an early version of concrete. It contained ash, shells, and sand. Over time, it was renovated and rebuilt by locals.
The fabric remains were discovered in bundles on the stairs that went to the top of the temple. They were embedded in the layers of concrete-like material.
They’re as old as 6,200 years, but some of them date back to 4,000 years.
Splitstoser explained that the materials have lost the original nuance, because they were trapped under the newer layers of the building and the ash had leaked onto the textiles, giving them a dirty appearance.
After conservationists washed the cotton fabric, the blue color came back. Splitstoser thought they would find a plant mix which might have been used to get the indigo blue color.
However, tests showed there were no plant traces on the fibers. When tested with higher-performance equipment, by Jan Wouters – of the University College in London, archaeologists revealed the chemical makeup of the substance used for dying. It was actually indigo. Five of the eight samples contained indigo in them.
This made researchers realize it was the oldest indigo known to exist in the world. As it is complicated to make, this shows just how advanced the civilization of the Andes, on the American continent.
Image Source – Pixabay