Friday, 5 February 2021

Tyrian purple found for first time in Israel

Purple-dyed fabric dating to the Biblical reigns of David and Solomon has been discovered in Israel. Produced in Phoenicia as early as 1570 BC using the distilled glands of sea snails, “Royal” or “Tyrian” purple was associated with the elite and exremely wealthy. It was more valuable than gold in the ancient world. Radiocarbon dating confirmed the samples found date from about 1000 BC.
True purple (argaman) was produced from a gland located near the rectum of three species of mollusc indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea, through a complex distillation process lasting several days.

The find was in the Timna Valley, a vast ancient copper mine. Copper smelting required advanced knowledge which was a guarded state secret. Those who held this knowledge were of the highest status.