The world’s oldest known pants found in China
What little rain that falls on a gravelly desert in western China’s Tarim Basin evaporates as it hits the blistering turf. Here, in this arid wasteland, lie the ancient remains of people who made one of the biggest fashion splashes of all time.
Herders and horse riders buried their dead in the Tarim Basin’s Yanghai graveyard pioneered pants making between 3,200 and 3,000 years ago. Their deft combination of weaving techniques and decorative patterns — displaying influences from societies across Eurasia — yielded a pair of stylish yet durable trousers now recognized as the oldest such garment known in the world (SN: 5/30/14).
“A diversity of textile techniques and patterns of different local origins, traditions, and times merged into something new in this garment,” says archaeologist and project director Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. “Eastern Central Asia was a laboratory where people, plants, animals, knowledge, and experiences from different directions and sources came … and were transformed.”