The fabric found on the coast of Peru shows indigo-dyed fabric was produced around 6000 years ago.
The ancient Egyptians were famed for creating beautiful blue hues of cloth but a discovery back in 2007 has found that Peruvians may have been the first to start the trend – almost 1500 years earlier.
The pieces of cloth were unearthed almost 10 years ago at an ancient ceremonial mound in northern Peru called Huaca Prieta but it was only recently confirmed that the faint blue stripes were in fact an indigo dye used by the Peruvians around 6000 years ago.
The full extent of the initial discovery wasn’t apparent because of the conditions that the pieces of cloth we in when they were uncovered – soot and dirt hid the colors within the fabric making it impossible to see.
“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,” stated Jeffrey Splitstoser, an anthropologist at George Washington University.
A special chemical analysis called liquid chromatography was used on the fabric revealing the presence of an indigo dye in most of the material examined. It is thought that the Peruvians used dye from the plant Indigofera and was thought to be a high-value dye used for expensive materials and clothing.
The find has helped show that ancient civilizations such as the ones living in South America were actually more advanced then previously thought.
“The people of the Americas were making scientific and technological contributions as early and in this case even earlier than people were in other parts of the world. We always leave them out. I think this finding just shows that that’s a mistake,” stated Splitstoser.