Here is something for your Just Too Cool file.
From SciTech Daily:
A Glimpse Into the Royal Purple Wardrobe of King David and King Solomon – 3000 Years Ago
“King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love.” (Song of Songs 3:9-10)
For the first time, rare evidence has been found of fabric dyed with royal purple dating from the time of King David and King Solomon.
While examining the colored textiles from Timna Valley — an ancient copper production district in southern Israel — in a study that has lasted several years, the researchers were surprised to find remnants of woven fabric, a tassel and fibers of wool dyed with royal purple. Direct radiocarbon dating confirms that the finds date from approximately 1000 BCE, corresponding to the biblical monarchies of David and Solomon in Jerusalem. The dye, which is produced from species of mollusk found in the Mediterranean, over 300 km from Timna, is often mentioned in the Bible and appears in various Jewish and Christian contexts.
“This is a very exciting and important discovery,” explains Dr. Naama Sukenik, curator of organic finds at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “This is the first piece of textile ever found from the time of David and Solomon that is dyed with the prestigious purple dye. In antiquity, purple attire was associated with the nobility, with priests, and of course with royalty.
“The gorgeous shade of the purple, the fact that it does not fade, and the difficulty in producing the dye, which is found in minute quantities in the body of mollusks, all made it the most highly valued of the dyes, which often cost more than gold. Until the current discovery, we had only encountered mollusk-shell waste and potsherds with patches of dye, which provided evidence of the purple industry in the Iron Age. Now, for the first time, we have direct evidence of the dyed fabrics themselves, preserved for some 3000 years.”
According to the researchers, true purple [argaman] was produced from three species of mollusk indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea: The Banded Dye-Murex (Hexaplex trunculus), the Spiny Dye-Murex (Bolinus brandaris) and the Red-Mouthed Rock-Shell (Stramonita haemastoma). The dye was produced from a gland located within the body of the mollusk by means of a complex chemical process that lasted several days.
Today, most scholars agree that the two precious dyes, purple [argaman] and light blue, or azure [tekhelet] were produced from the purple dye mollusk under different conditions of exposure to light. When exposed to light, azure is obtained whereas without light exposure, a purple hue is obtained. These colors are often mentioned together in the ancient sources, and both have symbolic and religious significance to this day. The Temple priests, David and Solomon, and Jesus of Nazareth are all described as having worn clothing colored with purple.
There is a lot more of interest in the full story. Check it out.
I am reminded that when the tombs of Peter and of Paul in Rome were examined, purple was found and gold threads. There bones at some point must have been wrapped in imperial purple (by Constantine?).