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Elusive Biblical Blue Found in Israel

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 10:30am

This undated photograph released by the Israel’s Antiquities Authority Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, shows a nearly 2,000-year old textile that appears to contain a mysterious blue color described in the Bible, one of the few remnants of the ancient color ever discovered. Researchers and rabbis have long searched for the enigmatic color, called tekhelet in Hebrew. The Bible commands Jews to wear a blue fringe on their garments, but the dye was lost in antiquity. (AP Photo/Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority, HOPD)An Israeli researcher says she has identified a nearly 2,000-year old textile that may contain a mysterious blue dye described in the Bible, one of the few remnants of the ancient color ever found.

Naama Sukenik of Israel's Antiquities Authority said Tuesday that recent examination of a small woolen textile discovered in the 1950s found that the textile was colored with a dye from the Murex trunculus, a snail researchers believe was the source of the Biblical blue.

Researchers and rabbis have long searched for the enigmatic color, called tekhelet in Hebrew. The Bible commands Jews to wear a blue fringe on their garments, but the dye was lost in antiquity.

Sukenik examined the textile for a doctorate at Bar-Ilan University and published the finding at a Jerusalem conference Monday.

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