Trousers are considered the mark of modern civilized man. However, evidence of men wearing custom fitted trousers has been discovered in an ancient tomb.
Scientists have unearthed evidence of trousers in a Chinese tomb that could very well be the oldest ever found. Researchers were working in the ancient Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin, when they made the remarkable discovery. The researchers determined that two adult males, who they believe were either herders or warriors, were wearing the trousers. Both males are believed to have been in their 40s at the time of their deaths.
The confusion about the occupation could be caused by the artifacts that were discovered in the tomb. Alongside the bodies, were a horse bit made of wood, a whip, a bow and a battle-axe, reported Phys.
They have published a paper in the journal Quaternary International describing the pants and their primary purpose. The paper mentions that carbon dating has pegged the age of the material at approximately 3,000 years. This easily marks the oldest known instance of trouser wearing. ScienceNews quoted Linguist Victor Mair from the University of Pennsylvania,
“This new paper definitely supports the idea that trousers were invented for horse riding by mobile pastoralists, and that trousers were brought to the Tarim Basin by horse-riding peoples.”
What he meant was that the make and stitching of the discovered trousers indicated that they were designed and fabricated with the primary intention of offering protection while riding horses over great distances.
Many historians believe that trousers were invented as a means of riding horses, as riding for a long time can cause skin irritation and discomfort. The fact that soothing medication for such injuries was pretty hard to come by in the wilderness, made it absolutely necessary to invent some form of protective clothing. Using horses for transporting personnel, equipment, food and for-sale merchandise began about 4,000 years ago. Apparently it took about 1,000 years to find suitable protective gear.
The trousers were made of three independently woven pieces of fabric, one nearly rectangular for each side spanning the whole length from waistband to hemline at the ankle and one stepped cross-shaped crotch-piece which bridged the gap between the two side-pieces. The tailoring process did not involve cutting the cloth. Instead, the parts were shaped on the loom itself, and thereafter they were shaped in the correct size to fit a specific person. The yarns of the three fabrics and threads for final sewing match in color as well as quality, suggesting that the weaver and the tailor could be the same person or they both cooperated extensively.
[Image Credit | M. Wagner / German Archeologists Institute via Daily Mail]