Archaeologists unearth 800-year-old shoe

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 10 Jun, 2009 Updated Wed 10 Jun 2009 08:30 CEST
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Archaeologists have unearthed a well-preserved leather shoe from 13th century at a dig in Magdeburg that could provide insights into mediaeval life.

“Shoe finds of this type from the Gothic period occur very seldom in Central Europe,” said Heiko Breuer, an antiquities restoration expert from the State Museum for Prehistory Saxony-Anhalt in Halle.

The shoe, which is made of sheepskin, was surprisingly well-preserved in a moist layer of soil.

Archaeologists also found a 350-year-old pair of cowhide loafers, probably belonging to a young boy at the tomb of the Kloster Church Ilsenburg in Harz.

“For the sake of research, the approximately 350-year-old pair from the Baroque period is especially valuable, because here the shoe work is exactly preserved,” said Breuer.

Due to the outstanding conditions of both finds, they show how shoes might have been made and how shoemakers would have worked in the middle ages.

“The materials were pulled taught on a block, sewn together and turned for the production of the seam – from there, the wings turned around and formed into a shoe,” said Breuer

The newly exhumed 800-year-old shoe will be freeze-dried after soaking in a chemical solution for 14 days in a lab in the state museum in Saxony-Anhalt.

“With that the shoe will be kept in its original state and without any difficulty be put on display in a museum exhibit,” said Breuer.

The shoe will be shown in, “Departure into the Gothic: The Magdeburg cathedral and the late Hohenstaufen Dynasty,” a regional exhibit, which will run from August 31 to December 6 in the Historical Museum in Magdeburg.

As for the old loafers, scientists plan to loan it to the Shoe Museum in Weißenfels.

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DPA/The Local 2009/06/10 08:30

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