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Unravelling the surprisingly epic story of the world’s oldest pair of trousers

Trousers: they’re the leg-engulfing garments that, today, most cold to temperate weather societies take for granted as the most practical way to cover your lower body. Given their modern ubiquity, one might assume that, as long as there have been people, there have been pants. However, any combination of cloaks, short skirts, leggings, loin cloths and more have been favoured by various cultures across time. And, as this entertaining video from the German Archeological Institute explores, until recently, their origins were a historical mystery.

The Invention of Trousers is a surprisingly epic journey into the history of clothing, tracing an archeological discovery at the Yanghai cemetery in Turfan, western China, where what might just be the oldest known pair of pants were found inside an immaculately preserved grave. The find launched an ambitious project by an international team of archeologists, scientists and even fashion designers to unlock the mysteries of these centuries-old (but still quite stylish) trousers, by reverse-engineering them from scratch. More than just a fascinating dive into history, the documentary doubles as a celebration of the incredible expertise and teamwork necessary for unravelling the ancient past.

Director: Mayke Wagner

Writers: Mayke Wagner, Pavel Tarasov

Website: German Archaeological Institute

1 February 2022

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