Radiocarbon dating suggests the dress is more than 5,000 years old
The Tarkhan Dress, courtesy of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL (UC28614B1)
It’s the ultimate in retro fashion — an Egyptian woven dress that is now considered the oldest known piece of cut, fitted and tailored clothing. Radiocarbon dating puts the dress, recovered from an ancient Egyptian cemetery called Tarkhan, at between 5,100 and 5,400 years old.
Analysis of a 2-centimeter-long thread from the V-necked, linen dress with pleated sleeves yielded the new radiocarbon age estimate. Examples of similar, floor-length Egyptian dresses date to nearly 5,000 years ago, says archaeologist Alice Stevenson, curator of University College London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, home to the Tarkhan Dress.
Stevenson and Michael Dee of the University of Oxford report the garment’s age online in the February Antiquity Project Gallery.
Stevenson suspects a socially elite woman wore the Tarkhan Dress shortly before Egypt’s first dynasty of kings