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3,000-Year-Old Textiles Discovered in Israel’s Arava Valley

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Israel Timna cloth TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—A collection of 3,000-year-old textiles, including fragments of imported linen and sheep’s wool, has been discovered in the copper mines at ancient Timna by a team from Tel Aviv University. “We found fragments of textiles that originated from bags, clothing, tents, ropes, and cords,” team leader Erez Ben-Yosef said in a press release. “The wide variety of fabrics also provides new and important information about the Edomites, who, according to the Bible, warred with the Kingdom of Israel. We found simply woven, elaborately decorated fabrics worn by the upper echelon of their stratified society. Luxury grade fabric adorned the highly skilled, highly respected craftsmen managing the copper furnaces. They were responsible for smelting the copper, which was a very complicated process,” he explained. Seeds were also well preserved in the arid conditions of the mines. Ben-Yosef adds that it is the first time that seeds from this period have been discovered uncharred and in large quantities. “This tells us how developed and sophisticated both their textile craft and trade networks must have been,” Ben-Yosef said. For more on textiles, go to "Peru's Mummy Bundles."

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