With the possible exception of Prince, few historical figures have been able to escape after wearing only purple. In biblical times, a color reserved for royalty, and Israeli researchers have now uncovered pieces of ancient purple-colored clothing, which they believe worn by King David King Solomon’s choices.
Presenting their findings in the journal PLS 1, the study authors described how they came across three specimens of purple fabric in a smelly area of iron-copper skin, each painted in a color made from Mediterranean mollusks. The use of this type of pigment has proven by several religious texts, the only direct evidence of its existence so far found in stained ceramics and discarded mollusk shells.
“This is the first piece of textile from the time of David and Solomon to be dyed with the dignified purple color,” explained the study’s author, Dr. Naama Sukenik, in surprise. Archaeologist’s unearthed rare textiles while excavating a site called Slavs Hill. Which is located in the Timna Valley in southern Israel?
Purple Fabrics Possibly Worn By Biblical Kings Have Been Uncovered In Israel
“In ancient times purple was associated with the aristocracy, with the priests, and of course with the royalty. The eye-catching shade of purple, the fact that it does not fade, and the difficulty in producing the dye that is available on the dyed body in minutes, all make it the most valuable of the dyes, which often cost more than gold.”
Radiocarbon dating has confirmed that the fragments are about 3,000 years old. Combined with a piece of woven cloth, a tassel, and a bunch of wool fibers, the patterns perfectly match the biblical monarchy of David and Solomon – both of which appeared in the Old Testament in purple.
Thanks to the writings of the Roman author Pliny the Elder, it known that the prestigious purple pigment made from the pigments of three different species of sea snails: Banded Die-Murex (Hexaplex trunculus), Spiny Die-Murex (Bolinus brandaris). Shell (Stramonita haemastoma).
Using a technique called high-pressure liquid chromatography, the study authors were able to confirm that the colored fabrics actually contained these mollusk-derived pigments, indicating that the color was the original ‘royal purple’.
Interestingly, none of the species of sea snails since the pigment made found in the Red Sea on the border with Israel. Instead, they set up Mediterranean reservoirs and their presence in the Middle East therefore indicates the existence of established trade routes throughout the region.
Since the pigment occurs only in small amounts in marine snails, a large catch is required to produce a royal purple garment. By skillfully combining three individual species and controlling light exposure during the production process, skilled workers are able to color the dyed colors, bringing out red or blue tones. Combining the importance of this discovery, Sukenik commented, “The part of the purple cloth we have found is not only ancient in Israel, but also in the southern Levant in general.”