Researchers find 7000-yr-old cotton fibres in Israel

Israeli researchers have discovered ancient cotton fibres dating back 7,000 years, the northern University of Haifa (UH) said.

The fibres were found in Tel Tsaf, a prehistoric village located in the Beit She’an Valley near the Jordanian border and north of the West Bank on Sunday.

It was a large village in the Chalcolithic period, which flourished during the transition period between small agricultural societies and large urban state cities, Xinhua news agency reported.

An investigation conducted by UH, in collaboration with Stanford University in the US and the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hannover, Germany, revealed that it is the earliest evidence in the ancient Near East for the use of cotton fibres.

Prior to this discovery, the earliest known evidence of cotton fibres used by humans in the ancient Near East was collected in eastern Jordan.

The researchers estimated that the origin of the fibres found at Tel Tsaf is in the Indus Valley, today’s Pakistan, one of the first places where cotton was domesticated.

They noted that the villagers had trade relations with Egypt, Iraq, and Anatolia areas, and it now appears to have reached the Indus Valley, thousands of kilometre away.

The cotton fibres, which were found together with wool and flax ones, were brought to the village as part of fabrics or clothes from ancient textiles, the team concluded.

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