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Newsflash: Ancient Egyptians May Have Invented Knitted Socks

They've already given us so much, beer, eyeliner, and now... knitted socks to keep our feet warm too.

It has recently been discovered that Ancient Egyptians may actually be the first people to not only wear knitted socks, but striped ones as well. Scientists at the British Museum used a new technique of imaging to study the dyes and weaves of a sock, dating back to 300 AD, found in an ancient Antinoopolis in Roman Egypt. 

Findings from studying the sock have shown that ancient Egyptians use three main natural dyes, madder to create red, woad to create blue and weld to create yellow. They'd then twist the fibers and weave them together to come up with a medley of colours. 

While the first socks are believed to date back to the stone age, the first knitted socks seem to have originated in Egypt, with ancient Egyptian sporting socks with one pocket for the big toe and another pocket for all the other toes.  

Scientist at the British's Museum’s department of scientific research and developer of the technique used to study the sock,Dr Joanne Dyer says “ It was exciting to find that the different coloured stripes found on the child’s sock were created using a combination of just three natural dyes.”

The technique, which is non-evasive and uses digital microscopy to study the fibres, will allow for more textiles to be studied without being destroyed in the process.

Dyer adds, “late antiquity is a very long period, from 200AD to 800AD. Within that period in Egypt there are lots of thing happening. There is the Arab conquest of Egypt, the Romans leave Egypt. These events affect the economy, trade, access to materials, which is all reflected in the technical makeup of what people were wearing and how they were making these objects.”

Main image taken from Daily Mail


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