Re-creating Ötzi's Shoes

You are probably familiar with Ötzi the Iceman, the Neolithic mummy found in the Alps in 1991. Every aspect of his remains have been studied extensively for clues about the culture and time period he lived in, including his shoes.

Petr Hlavacek, a Czech academic and calceology expert from the Tomas Bata University in Zlin, eastern Czech Republic, has taken his research into prehistoric footwear to another level by re-creating  Ötzi ‘s boots. Hlavacek’s expertise in calceology (from “calcei” meaning shoes in Latin) studies the archaeological and historical aspects of footwear.

Initially, Hlavacek faced torn and partly decomposed leather, mixed with blackened hay and tiny bits of twine, like a clump of horse dung. Along with his university colleagues, Hlavacek spent a great deal of time and effort trying to source the right leather for the authentic reconstruction. Microscopic studies of the leather showed that it came from calf on the bindings, deerskin on the uppers, and bearskin on the soles. The team of experts had to hire a bear hunter in Canada and have him send his prey to the Czech Republic.

That's only the beginning of the long and painstaking process of building new shoes to be just like the ones Ötzi wore in his lifetime. Read about the recreation project and the results at The Vintage News.  -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Josef Chlachula)

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