Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"The shellfish that was one of the main sources of Tyrian purple – one of the most storied and valuable trading products in the ancient world – has disappeared from the eastern Mediterranean coast"

The dye’s origin was shrouded in mythology, not least the suggestion it was discovered by Heracles’ dog after it ate the shellfish and its mouth turned purple.

The dye was hugely valuable because it has been estimated that it took thousands of shells to produce a single kilo. It was produced by collecting thousands of dye-producing molluscs, crushing them and allowing them to rot in large vats before the colour was boiled out.