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World's Oldest Leather Shoe Found—Stunningly Preserved

maximus otter

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Stuffed with grass, perhaps as an insulator or an early shoe tree, the 5,500-year-old moccasin-like shoe was found exceptionally well preserved—thanks to a surfeit of sheep dung—during a recent dig in an Armenian cave.

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About as big as a current women's size seven (U.S.), the shoe was likely tailor-made for the right foot of its owner, who could have been a man or a woman—not enough is known about Armenian feet of the era to say for sure.

Made from a single piece of cowhide—a technique that draws premium prices for modern shoes under the designation "whole cut"—the shoe is laced along seams at the front and back, with a leather cord.

"The hide had been cut into two layers and tanned, which was probably quite a new technology," explained Ron Pinhasi, co-director of the dig, from University College Cork in Ireland.

Yvette Worrall, a shoemaker for the Conker handmade-shoe company in the U.K., added, "I'd imagine the leather was wetted first and then cut and fitted around the foot, using the foot as a last [mold] to stitch it up there and then."

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/100609-worlds-oldest-leather-shoe-armenia-science

maximus otter
 
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