The TS is claimed to be almost 2000 years old. Is it even possible for a linen cloth to last so long?
Yes, linen fabric can last a long time. We have many linen cloth that are even older than the TS.
Mummy bandage inscribed with a falcon.
Henettawy’s unembalmed body was wrapped in bandages of fine linen, inscribed in places with protective emblems. This fringed square bears the figure of a falcon holding a flail, a sign used previously for royal linen and an indication of high quality.
As a matter of fact, any museum that have Egyptian mummies have old linen.
In ancient Egypt, linen was a valuable commodity used for clothing, bedding, blankets, cushions and other purposes. when it became too worn to be used by the living, it was put asside and used for mummification. In general, the bandages used to wrap a mummy were torn from old old linen sheets, but a number of the bandages from Tutankhamun’s embalming cache, including this one that has a selvedge edge on both sides, were specially woven for this purpose.
Linen was one essential component for the mummification process. Evidence for linen production in Egypt appears in the archaeological record as early as 5,000 BCE. Linen was used to wrap the corpse as early as the First Dynasty, and from that time forward, the use of these wrappings evolved over time to produce what we think of as a typically wrapped Egyptian mummy. Linen wrappings were also used in the production of animal mummies (Figure 15). By the fourth century BCE a new funerary tradition emerged that saw spells from the Book of the Dead being written directly on narrow linen bandages that were wrapped around the mummified body. In so doing, these magical funerary spells were placed directly on (and in fact, encircling) the body, further ensuring that the deceased would have access to this protection after death. Many examples of these inscribed linen bandages seem to have come from cemeteries in the northern part of Egypt, particularly in the areas of Memphis and Herakleopolis
Flax fibers have been discovered that even claim to be 34,000 years old.
A team of archaeologists and paleobiologists has discovered flax fibers that are more than 34,000 years old, making them the oldest fibers known to have been used by humans. The fibers, discovered during systematic excavations in a cave in the Republic of Georgia, are described in this week’s issue of Science.
Linen can last so long because it is not prone to moth and insects and has high resistance to bacteria.
Flax fibres are not attacked by moth grubs, which require keratin to feed on, and other
insects tend to avoid flax if they can because of its hardness.
When boiled or bleached, flax has a high resistance to bacteriological attack. Under
certain conditions of warmth, dampness and contamination, micro-organisms may attack
cellulose, notably cotton, but flax fibres will resist damage well if kept dry. The most
important factor in the preservation from decay would seem to be the purity of the fibre
and the effectiveness of the bleach. Contaminants remaining from the plant would be
likely to be breeding grounds for bacteria.
Linen is also three times stronger than cotton.
Made from fibers that are sourced from the stems of flax plants, linen is three times stronger than cotton