Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Dye That Preceded 'Palestine'

Yoli Shwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority spokesperson, informs us all:

Research has Revealed Three Rare 2,000 Years Old Fabrics
that were Dyed with an Extract from the Murex Snail
...within the framework of a study conducted by Dr. Na‘ama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority, three other rare fabrics belonging to pieces of prestigious textiles were exposed that might have been used as clothing in the Roman period.
 ...These prestigious textiles, from the Wadi Murabba‘at caves located south of Qumran, were revealed in a study that analysis the dye of 180 textiles specimens from the Judean Desert caves. Among the many textiles, most of which were dyed using substances derived from plants, were two purple-bordeaux colored textiles – parts of tunics that were double dyed utilizing two of the most expensive materials in antiquity: Murex trunculus (Hexaplex trunculus) and  American Cochineal insect.

...purple is considered the most prestigious color of the earlier periods; however it seems the public’s fondness for this reached its peak in the Hellenistic-Roman period. The purple dyed fabrics attested to the prestige of the garment and the social status of its owner...that color, the price of which soared and was equal to that of gold.  

It is difficult to know for certain how such prestigious fabrics came to be in the Murabba‘at caves. They might have been part of the property belonging to Jewish refugees from the time of the Bar-Kokhba revolt and demonstrate their economic prosperity prior to the outbreak of the uprising.  

And all that - the dye and the clothing - happened way before "Palestine". 

It was a Jewish color.


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