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Israeli researchers discover rare fabric with biblical dye
02
Jan '14
C: Israel Antiquities Authority/Clara Amit
C: Israel Antiquities Authority/Clara Amit
Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have uncovered three rare, Roman-era fabrics dated almost 2,000 years-old, believed to have been dyed using murex snail extracts in unique colors mentioned in the Bible.
 
According to a statement issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the fabrics identified by researcher Na‘ama Sukenik, represent the most prestigious colors in antiquity; indigo, purple and crimson, which are mentioned in Jewish sources.
 
The fabrics were discovered from the Wadi Murabba’at caves located south of Qumran, which is located about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. 
 
These prestigious fabrics which were uncovered in researcher Na’ama Sukenik’s study that analyzed the dye of 180 textiles specimens from the Judean desert caves. 
 
Among the many textiles, most of which were dyed using substances derived from plants, were two purple-Bordeaux colored textiles—parts of tunics that were double dyed utilizing two of the most expensive materials in antiquity: Murex trunculus (Hexaplex trunculus) and American Cochineal insect.
 
The third fabric, made of wool, indicated that the thread fibers were dyed by exposing them to sunlight or heated after having been dyed, representing another use of the murex snail for achieving a shade of blue, and it is possible that the item in question is an indigo fabric made by means of a technique similar to making the tekhelet (blue in Hebrew) in a tzitzit, which is attached to the four-cornered garment traditionally worn by Jewish men.
 
According to Israel Antiquities Authority, it is yet not determined how these prestigious fabrics came to be in the caves, researches debate that the fabrics might have been part of the property belonging to Jewish refugees from the time of the Bar-Kokhba revolt (rebellion of Jews against Roman empire) and demonstrate their economic prosperity prior to the outbreak of the uprising.
 
Another possibility is that they were part of the possessions of a small Roman unit, which on the basis of the artifacts was stationed in the Murabba‘at caves following the Bar-Kokhba revolt.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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