Two pairs of 3,300-year-old trousers found in the western Xinjiang region may be the world’s oldest, state media reported on Friday.
Archaeologists in May found animal-fur menswear on the bodies of two mummies, identified as male shamans in their forties, China Daily quoted scientists as saying.
An international team is working to repair and preserve the two pairs of trousers – which are the oldest yet discovered with a clear resemblance to the modern trousers, the report said.
“They were almost of the same shape as today’s trousers,” the report quoted Lu Enguo, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology in Xinjiang, as saying.
Even older apparel resembling trousers have previously been discovered in the region, but they were made based on a more simple design and lacked a piece of fabric covering the crotch, Lu said.
Archaeologists believe nomads living in the area invented trousers for horse riding.
The nomads “at first wore a kind of trousers that only had two legs,” said the institute’s deputy head Xu Dongliang.
He added that “crotches were sewed on to the legs, and gradually other styles, such as bloomers, appeared”.
Previously, the oldest pants found with a crotch were just 2,800 years old, the report said.