Good afternoon Dr Ziderman,
Recently, some people wanted to claim that the reduction processed used to dye with the murex dye is a recent discovery.
Is it possible that the ancients were not aware of the reduction process and murex was in fact used as a mordant dye? Is there any way to verify that the reduction process was in fact used in ancient times?
Thanks for your help!
The tekhelet and argaman dyes from shellfish necessarily require a reduction process. A mordant alone would not do.
Until recently it was considered that murex dye reduction could not occur naturally, I.e. in a bacterial vat, as is well known for vegetable indigo dyes. It is considered that in antiquity indigo was indeed dyed by that spontaneous bacterial fermentation.
As regards murex, it was recently discovered that there is a spontaneous bacterial fermentation vat also for murex. And that is the only presently feasible process which was available in antiquity, as was the comparable technique for plant indigos.
I trust that is clear.
Dr. I. Ziderman