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High prestige Royal Purple dyed textiles from the Bronze Age royal tomb at Qatna, Syria

  • Matthew A. James (a1), Nicole Reifarth (a2), Anna J. Mukherjee (a1), Matthew P. Crump (a3), Paul J. Gates (a3), Peter Sandor (a4), Francesca Robertson (a1) (a5), Peter Pfälzner (a6) and Richard P. Evershed (a1)...


During the ongoing excavations in the palace of the famous Qatna complex, the excavators noted patches of brown staining on the floor of a high status tomb. Chemical extraction revealed the presence of brominated derivatives of indigo and indirubin, and more detailed characterisation showed that it likely came from Hexaplex trunculus. In short, this was none other than the renowned Tyrian or Royal Purple mentioned by Pliny, which was to have such an influential career colouring the clothing of the powerful. Furthermore, it was associated in the tomb with ghosts of high quality textiles preserved in gypsum.


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