World’s Oldest Trousers

When you think about it, trousers are quite an accomplishment in the span of human history. Anyone can fashion up a toga or whip up a chiton (just ask college-aged Christina how easy it is) and loincloths are equally as simple. Trousers have to be somewhat tailored so they take more time than a simple robe. They also need to fit the body a certain way so they’re neither too loose nor too tight. Done well, a pair of trousers would keep you warm when it was cold, protect your legs, and, ideally, look downright snazzy.

The oldest known pair of trousers. M. Wagner/German Archaeological Institute

The oldest known pair of trousers. M. Wagner/German Archaeological Institute

Recently Archaeologists have unearthed what is now the world’s oldest pair of trousers. Found in a tomb in western China, these ancient slacks are estimated to be around 3,000 years old and they look amazing for their age. Made from wool, they are beautifully woven with areas of detailed patterning. It’s believed these trousers were probably related to horse riding and that perhaps trousers in that particular region developed after humans domesticated horses meaning there may have been trousers worn as much as 4,000 years ago that did not survive to the modern era. So there you have it! A brief treatise on timeworn trousers.

—Christina Garton