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16 March 2009
Stone Age sandal found in Lake Constance

A woven sandal - last worn 4,900 years ago - has been discovered in Lake Constance in southern Germany. The well-preserved shoe, dating back to the Stone Age, is of great historical significance, Stuttgart's District President Johannes Schmalzl said. He described the find as a 'small sensation,' comparing it to Oetzi, an Alpine ice man, whose 5,000-year-old mummified body was discovered in a melting glacier.
     The size 6 sandal (European size 36 or size four in Britain) dates back to around 2900 BCE, is made of woven wood and was discovered in silt deposits on the site of an early settlement of lake dwellings, built on poles at the water's edge. European Union funding has been allocated to research and preserve the areas where lake dwellings existed, on Lake Constance and Lake Zurich in neighbouring Switzerland. The settlements were inhabited between the 4th and 1st Century BCE. The remains, preserved for thousands of years by layers of silt, are under threat as a result of climate change, harbour construction and passing ships. The team working on protecting the ancient dwellings are ultimately hoping for UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.

Sources: Monsters and Criticsm, Iol.co.za (10 March 2009)

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