Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Archaeologists find 'Britain's oldest shoe'

Archaeologists excavating a quarry in Somerset claim to have found Britain's oldest shoe, believed to be 2,000 years old. They said the shoe, which was found at Whitehall Quarry, near Wellington, was the equivalent to a modern size 9 or 10, and was so well preserved that the stitching and lace holes were visible in the leather. A team from Exeter Archaeology, led by Stephen Reed, came across the shoe while excavating close to a Saxon iron smelting site that was discovered in 1989. They found a Bronze Age "industrial" site consisting of two mounds and two water-filled troughs. Nearby were two timber-built wells, preserved by waterlogging and probably dating from the early part of the Iron Age (700 BC - AD 43). One of these wells had been constructed over a spring using a hollowed tree trunk set into the ground. "As far as we know, this is the oldest shoe ever found in the UK," Mr Reed said. "These finds are of national importance due to the rarity of the survival of wood from this period and the presence of diagnostic tool marks on the sides of the timber, which suggest it dates from the Iron Age. It is reasonably well-preserved, with stitch and lace holes still visible in the leather."


At May 12, 2005 3:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an amazing find! But it's a shoe only an archaeologist would love. Looking at the photo, I wonder how many ancient artifacts have been discarded simply because it looked similar to the shoe in the image.


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