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Ancient cloth with Bible’s purple dye found in Israel, dated to King David’s era


The Times of Israel - Israeli researchers have found three textile scraps near the southern tip of Israel colored with the biblically described “argaman” royal purple dye, and dated them to circa 1,000 BCE — the era of King David. The earliest ever such finds in this region, the vibrant cloths add tangible weight, in particular, to the Bible’s account of an Edomite kingdom in the area at that time.


Colored with the most precious dye of the ancient world, the textile scraps were excavated in the Timna Valley near Eilat, and offer startling new insight into an ancient elite class. The tiny, vibrantly colored Iron Age cloth pieces are the earliest evidence of this precious dye in the entire Southern Levant and shed new light on the early Edomite kingdom and Israelite kingdoms 3,000 years ago — a period when the Bible details the conquering of the Edomites by King David.



Also called “true” or “Tyrian purple,” the vibrant, millennia-lasting color is produced by dye glands gathered from three species of live murex sea snails on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. To reach the famed King Solomon Copper Mines at Timna near the shore of the Red Sea, the cloth would have traveled hundreds.....READ MORE



The Times of Israel is an Israel-based, primarily English-language online newspaper launched in 2012. It was co-founded by journalist David Horovitz, who is also the founding editor, and American hedge fund manager Seth Klarman. It covers "developments in Israel, the Middle East and around the Jewish world."

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