A pair of trousers found in a Chinese graveyard might just be the oldest ever found.
The clothing is thought to date back a staggering 3,000 years, and despite the fact the ancient apparel has undergone considerable wear and tear, it still looks remarkably intact.
The find was made along with a host of other clothing items in the Yanghai tombs in China’s vast Tarim Basin. The trousers, which could actually date up to 3,300 years old, are thought to be the oldest ever discovered. They signify a period when people needed new clothing for horse riding. Older clothing such as robes and togas were not suitable for riding, leading to the rise in popularity of trousers.
The finding was reported in a paper for the Quaternary International.
‘This new paper definitely supports the idea that trousers were invented for horse riding by mobile pastoralists, and that trousers were brought to the Tarim Basin by horse-riding peoples,’ linguist Victor Mair from the University of Pennsylvania told ScienceNews.
Horse riding is thought to have begun up to 4,000 years ago, suggesting that trousers, too, could have originated that far back. The discovery at Yanghai were of two men thought to be 40 years-old, wearing the trousers. The clothing suggests they were herders – but they were likely warriors, too. Among the items recovered with the men were a whip, a wooden horse bit, a battle-axe and a bow.
The age of the trousers was estimated using radiocarbon dating and their design, perhaps understandably, was fairly primitive compared to modern standards. In total, the two pairs were each made of three pieces of cloth – one for each leg and one for the crotch. A ‘belt’ of sorts had been fashioned from strings, while the garments themselves were decorated with a woven design.
The Yanghai tombs are a vast ancient cemetery spanning approximately 580,000 square feet (54,000 square metres). The hot and dry climate in the area known as the Tarim Basin has helped to preserve corpses, clothing and other artefacts for thousands of years. Since digs at the site began in the 1970s, over 500 tombs have been excavated with numerous finds made.
Source : dailymail.co.uk