Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

Shoe that lay in prof's office is nearly 6,000 years old

Share this article

Shoe that lay in prof's office is nearly 6,000 years old
The snowshoe was just a few thousand years older than thought. Photo: Roman Clara/Bolzano regional government
17:45 CEST+02:00
A snowshoe discovered over a decade ago in Italy's Dolomite mountains and previously thought to belong to a nineteenth century cattle farmer is actually nearly six thousand years old, it has been revealed.
The shoe was found in 2003 in the melting snow of Gurgler Eisjoch glacier by Simone Bartolini, a cartographer for the Military Geographic Institute in Florence. Bartolini was mapping the Austrian-Italian border in South Tyrol, a German-speaking area of northern Italy. 
 
Assuming the shoe to be about a hundred years old, Bartolini displayed the shoe in his office as a memento. He only realised that it was much older than previously thought after discussing it with an archaeologist colleague. 
 
Radiocarbon dating by two separate labs now shows the shoe dates from 3800-3700 BC. This makes it up to 600 years older than the famous ice man Ötzi, who was found in 1991 just seven kilometres from the site of the latest discovery.
 
The shoe was presented at a press conference in South Tyrol on Monday. It is made from a 1.5 metre piece of birch wood bent into an oval. 
 
“It is the oldest snowshoe in the world,” the scientists said in a statement.
 
Catrin Marzoli, director of the South Tyrol office of archaeological monuments, told a press conference in Bolzano on Monday that the snow shoes were almost identical to those worn in the area until just a few decades ago.
 
"The glacier has given us an exceptional testimony”.
 
“It indicates that as early as the late Neolithic period people with proper equipment were present on the alpine watershed at an altitude of over three thousand meters,” she said, according to Südtirol News
 
Archaeologists believe that ancient glaciers melted by global warming could turn up a large number of prehistoric finds in the future.
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

The Swedish university tackling the challenges of tomorrow

Ranked among the world's best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement