The tomb, in modern-day Honduras, belonged to a Mayan queen who was buried in the fifth century A.D. A team led by University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Robert Sharer discovered the tomb, and the fabrics were analyzed by University of Rhode Island textile expert Margaret Ordonez.
Some of the fabrics included thread counts of more than 80 weft yarns per inch.
Ordonez reported that some of the fabrics included thread counts of more than 80 weft yarns per inch—a higher thread count than today’s denim jeans. Other samples contained “as many as 25 layers of fabric, stacked atop one another and fused together over time.”
Also of note is Ordonez’s surprise that the cloth has lasted 1,500 years. “We’re talking about a humid climate, and to have fragments of fabric exist in the tomb for that long is just amazing.”
The fabrics “retained hints of glorious hues,” from bright red to deep black, and were made from such materials as cotton, grass, leaves, and tree bark. “The high quality of the weaving suggests it was a very time-consuming task,” adds Ordonez, though it is not entirely clear how the Maya wove the fabrics.
Ordonez’s work, which is being prepared for publication, was backed by the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies.
Once again, we see modern scientists impressed and even puzzled by the technical skills of humans who lived a thousand years ago or more. But contrary to the evolutionary presentation of humans as moving from unintelligent, primitive brutes to today’s more intelligent population, the Bible, in Genesis, tells of great feats of human engineering—Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel—that required extensive engineering technology. After Babel, as humans dispersed (likely through the Bering Strait in the case of the ancestors of the Maya), they went on to build marvels of architecture and engineering that still amaze us today. But should this puzzle us? Not at all—rather, it should remind us of the ingenuity of our ancestors and the starting point of humanity—in intelligent Adam and Eve, made in the image of God.
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