(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists have discovered cotton fibers in the Jordan Valley that are about 7,000 years old. This is the earliest evidence of cotton production in the Middle East.
Excavations were carried out in Tel Tzaf, an ancient city in the Jordan Valley.
It flourished during a period when people were moving from small agricultural communities to large settlements. Due to natural conditions, organic materials are perfectly preserved there.
Textiles are known to decompose completely over time. But its tiny fibers can be in the surrounding sediment for several millennia.
New technologies have allowed archaeologists to study microscopic amounts of organic remains in unprecedented detail. Thus, it became possible to determine whether these fibers were once woven or not.
The authors of the new study emphasized that cotton did not grow in Tel Tzaf. Local residents used other raw materials for the production of fabrics: flax and, much later, wool.
The presence of cotton linen indicates that the city was an important trading center.
According to scientists, it could have been made in the Indus Valley region (modern Pakistan) and traveled a thousand kilometers before reaching Tel Tzaf.
Cotton samples have been recognized as the oldest in the Middle East and one of the oldest in the whole world.
Tel Tzaf was founded about 7200 years ago. It existed for about 500 years, but then for some unknown reason it was abandoned by the inhabitants.
Scientists intend to establish the cause of the fall of the city. They note that so far they do not find signs of any disaster or lack of resources.
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