Conny Waters – AncientPages.com - Socks have been around since the Stone Age when cave people used pelts or animal skins. However, ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to use knitted socks. Did they also invent stripy socks?
Ancient Egyptians were undoubtedly resourceful people and we owe them a lot. Not only did they invent the toothpaste, but they also had the first governmental health care system, and used door locks long before other civilizations, just to mention a few of their accomplishments.
Now it turns out that ancient Egyptians liked stripy socks. Whether they invented them is premature to say, but they were certainly one of the earliest civilizations that wore stripy socks.
Stripy child’s sock dating from 300AD was found in a rubbish dump in Egypt. Photograph: The British Museum
We know this because researchers at the British Museum have analyzed a sock that once belonged to an Egyptian child. The sock dates to about 300 A.D. and recovered from a rubbish dump in ancient Antinoupolis in Roman Egypt.
After such a long time it’s very difficult to see the sock’s original colors but using multispectral imaging scientists determined which dyes were used.
A combination of multispectral imaging and other techniques allow scientists to examine an artifact that is tiny and fragile without risking physically destroying a part of the object. We can see the past without destroying history so to speak.
The ancient Egyptian sock was once red, blue and yellow. Why a combination of these particular colors were chosen, is unknown. It could have been because the child’s parents simply liked the colors or maybe there is a symbolic meaning behind this color choice. We simply don’t know.
The subject of ancient Egyptian fashion was previously discussed on Ancient Pages, in our article Clothing And Jewelry In Ancient Egypt – How Did The Ancient Egyptians Dress? We know that “ancient Egyptians considered garments and cloth, one of the most important elements in a person’s life.”
Are you curious about how ancient Egyptians dressed? Find out here
“In ancient Egypt, clothing was an evident symbol of person’s social position and wealth. It was also used as a form of security for a loan or it was given away as a mark of respect and honor or left as legacy.”
Ancient Egyptians did not differ from other prehistoric civilizations. They liked colors and beautiful clothes, but there was a difference between how rich and poor dressed.
A 1,600-year-old Egyptian sock. Credit: V&A Museum
With this new multispectral imaging technology, scientists will be able to examine more textiles and we can get a better picture of the ancient world and learn how our ancestors dressed. We can also find out how important historical events affected their society.
Written by Conny Waters – AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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