By Ann Wuyt
YEREVAN (Indepedent) — A 5,500-year-old leather shoe — complete with laces — has been unearthed in cave here.
The perfectly preserved shoe — 1,000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza and 400 years older than Stonehenge — is the oldest known example of enclosed leather footwear, out-dating the shoes worn by “Ötzi the Iceman” by a few hundred years.
The sole-less right shoe is made out of a single piece of cow hide and was found containing grass, which may have served to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe. It is not known whether the shoe — 24.5cm long and a European size 37 — belonged to a man or a woman, though it is thought to have been best suited to a male. It has been dated to the Chalcolithic period, about 3500 BC.
The discovery was made in Vayotz Dzor province on Armenia’s border with Iran and Turkey by Diana Zardaryan ,of Armenia’s Institute of Archaeology. “I was amazed to find that even the shoelaces were preserved,” she said.
The discovery — made in 2008 — has been published in the online scientific journal PloS ONE.