Colorful fabric from King David and Solomon’s time was discovered in an excavation at Timna in southern Israel, allowing researchers to gain new perspectives of the textile industry of this era.
The cloths, woven of wool and dated from the 12th century B.C.E. to the 10th century B.C.E., were colored using plant dyes, and some are decorated with a red-and-blue bands pattern. They shed new light on the culture that established the ancient Timna copper mines in the desert, and on the textile industry, during the biblical period 3,000 years ago.
The highly rare textile fragments and their colors were preserved thanks to the region’s extreme arid climatic conditions, say Dr. Naama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, with a research team from Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
They are the oldest textiles found in the Middle East outside Egypt that were processed with plant-based dyes, say the researchers.