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3000-Year-Old Trousers Discovered in China

Beijing:  Scientists have discovered a pair of trousers in a Chinese tomb that may be the oldest ever found.

Researchers working in the ancient Yanghai graveyard in China's Tarim Basin have uncovered what appears to be the earliest example of trouser wearing.

Two adult males, believed to be herders and warriors, both about 40 years old at the time of death, were wearing the trousers.

Carbon dating puts the age of the material at about 3000 years old, making the find the earliest known instance of trouser wearing, 'Phys.org' reported.

In the tomb, along with the bodies, were a horse bit made of wood, a whip, a bow and a battle-axe.

These artifacts along with the cut of the pants, suggest the trousers were created and worn to allow for easier horse riding over long periods of time.

They also suggest that trouser creation had matured to a level that allowed for custom tailoring.

Many historians believe that trousers were invented as a means of riding horses as riding for a long time can cause skin irritation and discomfort, the report said.

The trousers were made of three independently woven pieces of fabric, one nearly rectangular for each side spanning the whole length from waistband to hemline at the ankle and one stepped cross-shaped crotch-piece which bridged the gap between the two side-pieces, Mayke Wagner at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin and her colleagues wrote in the journal Quaternary International.

The tailoring process did not involve cutting the cloth: instead the parts were shaped on the loom, and they were shaped in the correct size to fit a specific person.

The yarns of the three fabrics and threads for final sewing match in colour and quality, which implies that the weaver and the tailor was the same person or that both cooperated in a highly coordinated way, researchers said.

The design of the trousers from Yanghai with straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch-piece seems to be a predecessor of modern riding trousers.

"Together with horse gear and weapons as grave goods in both tombs our results specify former assumptions that the invention of bifurcated lower body garments is related to the new epoch of horseback riding, mounted warfare and greater mobility," researchers wrote.

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