Anyone a fan of vintage fashion? How about 5000 year old couture?
One of the neat things about Egypt is that its advanced civilization was good at both recording and preserving its own history. Unlike most other of the world’s great ancient civilizations whose moist climates caused the disintegration of its remnants thousands of years ago, Egypt’s dry and arid climate wonderfully preserved countless treasures from some of its earliest periods.
The area around Tarkhan, 50km south of Cairo, was once a booming burial metropolis for some of Egypt’s earliest royals and nobles. While the tombs at this site weren’t nearly as advanced as those that would come in later generations, they were still constructed with great care and filled with the deceased’s most valued possessions so they could continue the party in the afterlife. And evidently there were high fashion dress codes on ancient Egypt’s party scene too.
Back in 1913 a British Egyptologist named Flinders Petrie (yes his parents really named him Flinders) excavated over 2000 tombs at Tarkhan and stored what were thought to be zillions of random unimportant artifacts that were extracted. But it wasn’t until 1977 when some of these decaying artifacts were sent to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum for help with preservation that what appeared to be some sort of tattered blouse was pulled out of a box of ancient linens for examination. But instead of some random mummy cloth, researchers realized they had stumbled upon some ancient haute couture.
The garment was quite intricately designed, as opposed to the simple wraps and drapes that were thought to have characterized the fashion of the times. Its sleeves were tailored, the neckline was a classy V-shape, and the top was carefully pleated to create a delicate feminine look. Carbon dating soon confirmed that the dress was an eye-popping 5000 years old, which is 3000 years older than garments that are typically found in excavations worldwide. But this wasn’t just a ceremonial piece of clothing made for burial. The sleeves still had creases in them, indicating that the dress had actually been worn in real life.
In all honesty, the dress actually resembles a nice looking piece of high fashion, maybe in a vintage-inspired collection. If only now we could find out more about the diva who used to strut the ancient catwalk sporting this thing.