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6000-year-old fabric found in Peru indicates dyeing of textiles with Indigo: Research
Discovery of the oldest indigo-dyed fabric from Peru has pushed back the earliest use of indigo by 1,500 years. Around 6,000 years back, the blue indigo dye was used by pre-Hispanic communities in Peru.
The findings published in Science Advances are based on the assessment of blue pigment a piece of cotton fabric found at an archaeological site in Huaca Prieta, Peru. With the use of highly sensitive equipment known as high-performance liquid chromatography, the researchers were able to know the source of blue pigment.
Study’s lead researcher Dr Jeffrey Splitstoser from George Washington University said that discovery has shown that ancient South Americans were not backwards and in fact, they were moving ahead with the rest of the world.
The oldest sample earlier known of blue-dyed fabric dated to around 4,400 years ago in Egypt. The oldest written references to blue due dated to around 5,000 years ago in the Middle East. Splitstoser said that the dyed fabric pieces made of woven cotton were found between 2007 and 2008 at the site.
Talking about the fabric Splitstoser was of the view, “They were literally sealed under these new layers of building, but because the building material had so much ash in it, it leached into the textiles, making them a very dirty, sooty color”.
The researchers shared that the blue color did not show till the time the piece of cloth was not washed. Indigo dye is not easy to make. It is different from other dyes that are made from flowers and needs just boiling the petals in water to get the exact color.
In the paper published in journal Science Advances, the researchers said that it was quite rare to find a material that is so well preserved.