Archaeologists have uncovered the world’s oldest bra.
The lace and linen undergarment dates back to hundreds of years before women’s underwear was thought to exist.
The bra and several other items of medieval lingerie had lain hidden in a vault beneath the floorboards of East Tyrol’s Lengberg Castle since the 15th century.
Despite their state of decay, knickers that were found with the haul bear more than a passing resemblance to the string bikini briefs popular today, while the 532-year-old bra has the fitted cups and delicate straps of its modern-day counterparts.
While it was known that medieval men wore undergarments like modern-day shorts, it was thought that women simply wore a smock or chemise. It was thought that knickers didn’t make an appearance until the late 18th century.
Bras were thought to be an even more modern invention, not appearing until around 100 years ago.
The undergarments were among almost 3,000 fragments of clothing and other detritus found in Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol during recent renovations.
It is thought that they were buried when the building was extended in 1480 and that the exceptionally dry conditions stopped the fragile garments from disintegrating over the centuries.
Beatrix Nutz, of Innsbruck University, who made the find, initially faced scepticism but radiocarbon-dating tests confirmed her suspicions.
The haul included four bras and two pairs of pants. Two of the bras resemble modern counterparts but the others are described rather bluntly as ‘shirts with bags’.