The Oldest Shirt in History

The Oldest Shirt in History

In 1913, archaeologists discovered the world’s oldest shirt. The piece, made from linen, was excavated from an ancient Egyptian tomb just south of Cairo. Not only is it the oldest shirt, but the oldest preserved garment to ever be unearthed. The garment is referred to as the Tarkhan Dress, named for the necropolis, also known as a tomb site, that it was found in. The term “dress” in this case, is used to describe a tunic or long shirt.

Thanks to advancements in radiocarbon dating, the garment was only recently dated. The process showed the shirt as being made somewhere in between 3484 and 3102 bc. This makes it roughly 5,000 years old, a century older than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Tarkhan Dress was originally uncovered by archaeologist Flinders Petrie and his team. While the garment was intact, it appeared to be well worn before it was buried. The dimensions of the shirt indicate that it was made for a teenager or a small adult. The design includes long sleeves and a v shaped opening at the neck. It also appears to include a pleated detail over the chest and down the sleeves.

It is truly remarkable that a shirt made of a relatively delicate fabric could survive in the ground for 5,000 years.

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