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Archaeological find Divers discover 5,000-year-old shoe in Swiss lake

Neolithic shoe

The shoe was made out of bast, a material made from certain types of tree bark rarely used today.

(Bachmann Martin)

Divers have made an extraordinary discovery during excavations at a lake near Zurich - a Neolithic age shoe.

It was found almost fully preserved in the Greifensee lake at Maur. Less than ten of these rare specimens have come to light in Europe to date.

The Stone-age lake-dwellings on the shores of lakes in the Zurich area are considered to be some of the most important archaeological sites in Europe.

+ Switzerland's past faces uncertain future

The shoe dates back 5,000 years to the so-called “Horgen” culture, according to the Zurich building authorities in a statement on Tuesday.

The shoe is a “prime example of the ingenious manufacturing of Neolithic clothing”, says the statement. It is made out bast, a material rarely used today and made out of the deeper layers of certain types of tree barks.

The statement added that the recovery and subsequent conservation of the fragile find was a very lengthy and complicated process. The pristine appearance of the shoe was highly unusual.

“It’s a miracle that a textile object so ancient remained unaffected by natural decomposition and could be preserved in such good condition," it concluded.


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