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Ancient Child’s Shoe With Laces Discovered

The 2,000-year-old child's shoe
The 2,000-year-old ancient child’s shoe, remarkably well-preserved, was found in Austria’s Dürrnberg. Credit: German Mining Museum Bochum

A remarkable find in Austria has revealed an ancient child’s shoe that is more than two thousand years old and still has its laces! Experts at the German Mining Museum Bochum-Leibniz Research Museum for Geo-resources have concluded that this shoe that is about the size of an EU 30 or US 12 was likely crafted in the 2nd century BC.

Discovery of the ancient child’s shoe

Archaeologists found this ancient child’s shoe in the western village of Dürrnberg. They were digging in an area where people mined rock salt during the Iron Age. 

The investigation into ancient salt-making practices at Dürrnberg is part of an ongoing research project. This research is supported by Salinen Austria AG and Salinen Tourismus and is done in collaboration with the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at Ruhr University in Bochum.

Preservation of the ancient child’s shoe

The special thing about the salt in this area is that it is really good at preserving objects such as this child’s shoe. This is probably why the shoe is still in such great condition despite the passing of time.

Professor Thomas Stoellner, who leads the Research Department at the German Mining Museum, mentioned in the press release that they have been identifying vital objects at Dürrnberg for many years. These discoveries help them study how mining began a long time ago. He also noted that the ancient child’s shoe they found is in remarkable condition.

He said, “For decades now, our research activities on the Dürrnberg have repeatedly provided us with valuable finds in order to develop the earliest mining activities scientifically. The condition of the shoe that was found is outstanding.”

The museum is carrying out excavations at Dürrnberg to learn more about how people who worked as miners during the Iron Age lived and what their work was like.

Other stuff discovered at the excavation site

Archaeologists found the ancient child’s shoe along with some other old stuff such as a piece of a wooden shovel and bits of fur. They also found fur that seemed like it might have been part of a fur hood. The laces of the child’s shoe that they found were probably made from flax or linen.

Discovering an ancient child’s shoe is always significant because it tells us that children used to be down there in the mines, as stated by the museum.

Professor Stoellner also mentioned, “Organic materials generally decompose over time. Finds like this child’s shoe, but also textile remains or excrement like those found on Dürrnberg, offer an extremely rare insight into the life of Iron Age miners.”

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