World's Oldest Silk Found In 8500 Year Old Tombs In China

Posted: Jan 11 2017, 12:01pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 11 2017, 8:45pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

World's Oldest Silk Found in 8500 Years Old Tombs in China
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  • Oldest Sample of Silk found in Chinese Tombs

The oldest sample of silk which is 8500 years old has been found in Chinese tombs.

The oldest existence of silk material has been discovered in a Neolithic tomb in China. It has been preserved for the past 8500 years or so. This is plain evidence of the existence of silk during the Neolithic age.

There is talk of people being buried in these tombs while they were wrapped in silk. Chinese archaeologists probed three tombs at the site. The site is termed Jiahu and it is located in the Henan Province of China.

These tombs hold great importance for archaeologists in terms of the wealth of age-old materials they hold in store. The earliest musical instruments (bone flutes) were found at this site.

The most ancient beverage which consisted of honey, rice and fruit was also found in the region among the ruins. Also the earliest samples of domesticated rice was extant here.

Finally, Chinese textual characters (pictographic writing) is seen here for the first time. The fact that silkworm breeding began here and silk was woven in the area is something which really interests the scientists.

According to legendary sources, silk-making began in China thousands of years ago when an empress disentangled the threads around a silkworm cocoon which had fallen in her teacup.

The soil from the region still shows evidence of peptides of silk fibroin. This is a protein found in silk strands. Previous evidence of silk-weaving in the region was confined to the necessary tools of the trade.

Yet now visible evidence of the actual presence of silk has been found which is a great surprise for the Chinese scientists. Silk disintegrates easily and so finding direct evidence of it is a difficult thing.

Weaving implements and needles made of bones were also found. Thus it seems that the residents of Jiahu must have known the necessary skills needed to weave silk strands.

Further evidence will be forthcoming soon, according to Mail Online. Till then all we can do is cross our fingers and wait. Meanwhile, in the future, the researchers will be examining other sites to see whether there are any signs of silk-weaving there or not.

The Neolithic revolution was a landmark event on the timescale of human history. It saw the beginnings of agriculture and livestock farming. Humanity on the whole shifted away from hunting and gathering and moved towards a more sedentary lifestyle during the course of this revolution in mode of living.

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