Researchers identify oldest textile dyed indigo
A George Washington University researcher has identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Huaca, Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the oldest known textile decorated with indigo blue.
"Some of the world's most significant technological achievements were developed first in the New World," said Dr. Splitstoser. "Many people, however, remain mostly unaware of the important technological contributions made by Native Americans, perhaps because so many of these technologies were replaced by European systems during the conquest. However, the fine fibers and sophisticated dyeing, spinning and weaving practices developed by ancient South Americans were quickly co-opted by Europeans."
|Huaca Prieta is a large ceremonial mound in Peru first excavated in the 1940s |
[Credit: Jeffrey C. Splitstoser]
The development of indigo dye was critical for future trends in fashion, fabrics and textile arts, Splitstoser said.
"The cotton used in Huaca Prieta fabrics, Gossypium barbadense, is the same species grown today known as Egyptian cotton," Dr. Splitstoser said. "And that's not the only cotton connection we made in this excavation -- we may well not have had blue jeans if it weren't for the ancient South Americans."
The textile is now in the Cao Museum collection in Peru. The paper, "Early Pre-Hispanic Use of Indigo Blue in Peru," published in Science Advances.
Source: George Washington University [September 14, 2016]