World's oldest leather shoe found in Armenia after 5500 years

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 06:50 hrs

Researchers have stumbled upon the world's oldest leather shoe - a perfectly preserved foot wear in an Armenian cave.

A team of international archaeologists discovered the 5,500-year-old cow-hide shoe that dates back to 3,500 BC and contained grass - possible to keep feet warm. Apart from the shoe, the team found many other objects - large wheat and barley containers, apricots and other edible plants - all well preserved due to the stable, cool and dry conditions in the cave.

"It is not known whether the shoe belonged to a man or woman," said lead author of the research, Dr Ron Pinhasi, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

"We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition," said Pinhasi.

"It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford, UK, and in California, US that we realised that the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Ötzi, the Iceman.

Enormous similarities exist between the manufacturing technique and style of this shoe and those found across Europe at later periods, suggesting that this type of shoe was worn for thousands of years across a large and environmentally diverse region," said Pinhasi.

The researchers are clueless about the purpose of the cave, but found children's graves at the back. Further excavations are expected to reveal more clues.

The findings will publish on June 9th in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)

More from Sify: