World’s Oldest Leather Shoe Discovered in Armenia

June 10th, 2010 - 11:32 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Stuffed with grass in what is suspected to be either a method of insulation, or a primitive shoe tree, a very well preserved 5500 year old leather moccasin was found inside a cave in Armenia on Wednesday.

Thanks to the protection of a mound of sheep dung, the shoe was incredibly well preserved in the recent dig. It is approximately the size of a woman’s shoe, size seven, and was made for the right foot, and shaped by being worn. It is not clear whether the shoe belonged to a woman or a man, since the size of an Armenian’s foot from that era is unknown.

One of the world’s most well known shoe designers, Manalo Blahnik was astonished at the design of the primitive shoe. Blahnik said in an email, “It is astonishing how much this shoe resembles a modern shoe!”

The shoe is made of a single piece of leather, a design called “whole cut” which is very much sought after in today’s market, and pushes up the cost of modern shoes. A leather cord laces the shoe up the back behind the heel as well as across the top front of the shoe.

Besides the shoe, cemented in the layers of sheep dung were the horns of a wild goat, the bones of a red deer, and a broken pot, which was upside down. It is suspected that this strange assortment of items may have symbolic meaning which could be revealed during the next scheduled dig this summer.

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