Belt made of lapis lazuli, gold and carnelian worn by Queen Pu-abi, who was buried in the Royal Tombs of Ur.

The frenzy caused by New York Fashion Week and red-carpet style at the Oscars may give the impression that contemporary society is particularly clothes-obsessed, but the research of Aubrey Baadsgaard, an anthropology doctoral student at Penn, shows that the concept of fashion is as old as human history itself. Baadsgaard is writing her dissertation on how clothing and ornamentation both reflected and helped construct gender and gender roles in ancient Mesopotamia during the Early Dynastic Period (circa 2900 – 2100 B.C.), considered to be one of the ‘cradles of civilization.’

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