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Spanish Cave Yields 6,200-Year-Old Shoes, Forcing Scientists to Reconsider Early Human History

Spanish Cave Yields 6,200-Year-Old Shoes, Forcing Scientists to Reconsider Early Human History

Discovery of Ancient Shoes in Spanish Cave

Scientists have discovered a pair of shoes which were found in a cave. This remarkable collection of shoes and other objects was found in Cueva de los Murciélagos de Albuñol in Granada, Spain. The discovery was made by researchers from the Universidad de Alcalá and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, who have been studying 76 objects that were uncovered in a cave in southern Spain many years ago. 

Key Takeaways

  • The oldest shoes in Europe were found in a Spanish cave, 6,200 years old
  • 22 pairs of woven grass sandals discovered
  • Shows early humans more advanced than thought
  • Sandals made of grass and natural fibers
  • Two styles: woven sole and harder “central core”
  • Ankle tie braids, no laces
  • Likely buried with bodies for the afterlife
  • Radiocarbon dating used to determine the age
  • Significant find to understand human history

Dating the Shoes

The objects found were baskets, sandals, and organic tools made from reed and esparto grass. By analyzing the materials used to make these objects, the researchers were able to determine that they dated them to an early period between 9500-6200 after studying the materials of the object. Researchers say that 22 pairs of woven grass sandals discovered in the cave are some 6,200 years old and thus the oldest shoes ever found in Europe.

CNN reports that Spanish archaeologist Manuel de Gongora first collected these sandals in 1867 after miners looted the burial site 10 years ago. 

These sandals are made of grasses and other natural fibers. 

The study identifies two types of footwear found at the site. One type has a consistently woven sole, while the other type has a harder “central core.” 

The sandals have no laces, but some had a single braid fixed to the middle which could be tied around the wearer’s ankle. Similar sandals from later periods found across Europe were made with other materials, not just grass.

Significance of the Discovery

Scientists also believe that they found these shoes with the bodies that were buried there and they were crafted specifically for burial purposes.

The study used radiocarbon dating to date 76 items, including baskets and 22 sandals made from esparto, a kind of grass used in crafts across the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa for thousands of years.

The old shoes show them that early humans might have been more advanced or clever than they originally thought scientists say. 

The recent research has shed new light on their significance and their importance in understanding the history of human civilizations.