Analysis of dyes in textiles from the Chehrabad salt mine in Iran

Chika Mouri, Abolfazl Aali, Xian Zhang, Richard Laursen
2014 Heritage Science  
This study describes the analysis of dyes from three textile specimens associated with human remains found in the Chehrabad salt mine in northwestern Iran dating to 2000 ± 400 years BP. They are unique for this part of the world not only because of their age, but because they represent textiles used by common people (salt miners) as opposed to funerary garments of the wealthy. Samples of yarns from these specimens were extracted and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography with diode
more » ... ography with diode array and mass spectrometric detection. The red dye was obtained from madder (specifically Rubia tinctorum L.), and the blue was from an indigo plant, probably woad (Isatis tinctoria L.), both of which are known in Iran. Two yellow, plant-derived, flavonol dyes were found. The first seems to be from a species of tamarisk (Tamarix sp.), whereas the second, found in both yellow and green yarns, is from a so-far unidentified plant. This work represents the first detailed study of these salt mine dyes, and the first evidence for the use of tamarisk as a dyestuff.
doi:10.1186/s40494-014-0020-3 fatcat:jjm2wf5vvzeabhveilcz37b27m