(Courtesy Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology). The Tarkhan Dress likely was worn by a young or slim female member of the royal court, and then placed in the tomb as a funerary object. Although the bottom does not survive, it may once have been full-length.

The world’s oldest dress – that’s still intact – was originally found in Egypt in 1913 but, thanks to new radiocarbon technology, it’s been dated at over 5,100 years old! It’s called the “Tarkhan Dress,” named after the town it was discovered in.

Researchers concluded the very finely made flax linen dress dates between 3482 and 3103 B.C., making this the world’s oldest woven garment found so far.

“The dress has provided people with a real sense of the antiquity and longevity of the ancient Egyptian state and society.” Alice Stevenson, curator at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

“Linen is a robust plant fiber composed of the carbon-rich biopolymer cellulose,” Dee explains. “This is much easier to handle and date than proteinaceous fibers like those found in wool and leather.”

“With its pleated sleeves and bodice, together with the V-neck detail, it’s a very fine piece of clothing. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere of that quality and of that date. It’s amazing to think it has survived some 5,000 years.”


  1. https://www.archaeology.org/issues/215-1605/trenches/4349-trenches-egypt-predynastic-period-tarkhan-dress
  2. https://www.archaeology.org/issues/241-features/top10/5113-egypt-tarkhan-dress