Baku, January 11, AZERTAC
The first silk fabric and the tradition of making silk appeared in the ancient China for 8.5 thousand years ago, as evidenced by the chemical traces of silk in one of the tombs in the village Harbour, ancient sites of people in China, according to a paper published in the journal PLoS One.
Silk was a rare luxury good in the ancient world. Its fame helped give a name to the Silk Road, the legendary network of trade routes that once connected the East and West from China to Rome.
The secret of how to make silk was first discovered in China. According to Chinese legend, after a silkworm cocoon dropped into the teacup of the wife of the Yellow Emperor, she found that the cocoon could unravel to yield about 3,300 feet (1 kilometer) of thread.
To learn more about the origins of silk, scientists investigated ruins dating back 9,000 years at Jiahu in the middle of Henan Province in central China. Previously at this site, scientists had unearthed bone flutes that are the earliest known playable musical instruments on Earth, as well as what may be the earliest Chinese writing.
Old tales suggested that silkworm breeding and silk weaving began around this area, said study co-author Decai Gong, an archaeologist at the University of Science and Technology of China at Hefei. In addition, prior work at Jiahu revealed that the area's warm and humid climate favored the growth of mulberry trees, whose leaves are the sole food of silkworms.