Exactly how old is the oldest cotton fabric dyed with indigo? Before September 14th, 2016, specialists would have estimated the answer to be roughly four and a half millennia ago. However, after a new find made in Huaca, Peru, by a researcher from the George Washington University the oldest cotton fabric to be found dyed with indigo is 6,200 years old.
Further research is showing that the procedure which led to weaving and dyeing the cotton could have “grandfathered” the tailoring techniques behind blue jean manufacturing.
Creating and using the indigo dye is considered by historians and researchers alike to be one of the more complex ancient tailoring secrets. They are fascinated by the age of the dyed fabric and by the prospect that more than 62 centuries into the past, the South American civilizations had mastered the art.
The setting near Huaca Prieta where the fabric was initially discovered suggest that the site was once a place of spiritual communion and worship. It is currently believed that the fabric was an offering, placed among several others consisting of manufactured goods, meat, vegetables, and fruit.
History often fails to remind us that, although the ancients American peoples were not as industrious as the Europeans, their own development in areas such as agriculture and weaving have been the cornerstone of many modern procedures and techniques.
A Glimpse Into A Past Dyed With Indigo
The researchers have found the cotton fabric to made out of what the world now knows as Egyptian Cotton. The Ancient Peruvians had the appropriate knowledge to grow it, harvest it, and weave it into beautiful cotton fabrics. The blue indigo dye was definitely only one of the shades they would have used on dying their fabrics.
They then considered the end product to be of such craftsmanship that it was a worthy offering to the gods. If given enough time, the descendants of this civilization might have developed their own version of blue jeans. However, history shows that this is not the case.
The desert conditions in the archeological site at Huaca Prieta have preserved much more than this 6,200-year-old fabric. Much of the excavated site can offer a glimpse into an ancient past, carefully dyed with indigo.