Skip to comments.Theory: Iceman Oetzi Wore High-Tech Shoes
Posted on 03/02/2005 9:53:42 AM PST by blam
Theory: Iceman Oetzi Wore High-Tech Shoes
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Feb. 23, 2005 Ötzi, the copper ax-wielding iceman found frozen in the Alps where he had trekked over 5,300 years ago, wore high-tech snowshoes, according to a closer look at artifacts found with his remains.
If the new theory holds, Ötzi's footwear would become the world's first known snowshoes, and in a landslide victory. The current likely record-holders are not even actual shoes, but rather carvings of what look to be snowshoes found within Iron Age petroglyphs that date to approximately 500 B.C.
The Shoe from Below
The wood found with Ötzi would fit almost perfectly into a 36"x 11" (medium-sized) snowshoe frame today.
The recent analysis suggests that prehistoric people were technologically more sophisticated, better equipped, and more suitably dressed than previously thought.
The theory is published in the current issue of British Archaeology magazine and online at www.archaeologyonline.org.
Jacqui Wood, who formulated the new theory, is director of Saveock Water Archaeology. She also is the director and founder of Cornwall Celtic Village, a reconstructed Bronze-Iron Age settlement.
The old hypothesis about Ötzi's footwear was that he wore clunky leather shoes, sort of like crude moccasins. Archaeologists attributed masses of string and pieces of wood that were found near his body to a pannier, or a backpack.
While working on a restoration of the iceman's cloak and shoes for the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, Italy, Wood noticed a puzzling strap underneath an image of one of the probable shoe objects.
She checked the original archaeological line drawings and discovered that this item contained "lots of slots, slits, and strapping."
Wood next studied the pieces of bent hazel wood that had been linked to a backpack. The pieces reminded her of wood found on the frames of today's snowshoes. She then did some research on snowshoes and discovered that most come in three particular sizes that correspond to small, medium and large frames.
"The wood found with Ötzi would fit almost perfectly into a 36"x 11" (medium-sized) snowshoe frame today," she told Discovery News. "I believe deerskin would have formed the front and bottom of the shoe surrounding the foot, and that netted twine was at the shoe's back."
Wood added, "The shoe must have had a snowplow effect, where the iceman would have knocked away snow with each of his steps. It's an incredibly clever snowshoe that would have been comfortable to wear."
She believes remnants of Ötzi's clothing further support the snowshoe claim. Based on the material evidence, he likely wore fur leggings held up with leather suspenders, a loincloth, and a cloak made of grass that was fitted together with wooden cross-members.
Wood said little straps kept the cloak over the iceman's shoulders. Since this design would have exposed his shoulders to the cold air, she believes that a smaller cape, similar to what comprises the top section of many modern raincoats, would have rested over the cloak.
"In front, the cloak was laced up, like a tennis shoe," Wood said. "I doubt the cloak could have closed if he had worn a backpack underneath it. Since his arms were under the heavy grass, how could he possibly have gotten a backpack over the cloak?"
She instead thinks Ötzi was not wearing a backpack at all. Instead, she believes the objects archaeologists linked to the supposed pannier actually were part of her theorized snowshoe, with the other snowshoe having gone missing over the thousands of years.
She pointed out that birch bark containers and a belt pouch also were found with the iceman's remains, so he would have had other means of storage.
Mike Pitts, the editor of British Archaeology, thinks the new theory is plausible.
"On the face of it, Jacqui Wood's proposal is an intelligent solution to some problems with current interpretations," Pitts told Discovery News. "If there was a pannier, why has only the frame survived? Why was there so much string on the frame? How could the iceman have worn a backpack with a cloak, and why were his footwear apparently so unsuited to the location?"
Pitts added, "It will be interesting to see how her further research on this develops."
Thanks to FReeper Michael_Michaelangelo for the posting. Also, place him on the GGG Ping list.
No doubt. I suppose thousands of years from now, scientists would assign all kinds of ridiculous rituals and superstitious behavior to things such as the superbowl, Playstation and jogging, if there were no technological record.
Kramer: "What d'you got there?"
Jimmy: "These are Jimmy's training shoes."
George: "Yeah,yeah yeah yeah! I've seen these.....they sorta ..they make
Jimmy: "Oh yeah! Jimmy couldn't jump at all before he got these. Jimmy was
like you (looks at G.)
Kramer: "They're Plyometric.(sp?)"
Kramer: "Yeah! They isolate the muscles. The muscle has to grow....or die."
George: (to Jimmy) Wh...Where d'you get'em?"
Jimmy: "Jimmy sells'em."
I'm guessing Chuck Taylor was descended from these people.
Oops, high-tech shoes, I thought it was high-TOP shoes. Sorry, nevermind.
Your Jimmy's kind a girl....Jimmy really likes you.
Gee, and all along I thought my PF Flyers were the original high-tech shoe...
"No doubt. I suppose thousands of years from now, scientists would assign all kinds of ridiculous rituals and superstitious behavior to things such as the superbowl, Playstation and jogging, if there were no technological record."
yes and if any of the bodies of myriad people today with Celtic and other tribal tattoo's are found with skin preserved, the anthropologists will just plotz themselves.
Maybe it thought it was a sock.
Forerunner to the Birkenstock? Was he a yuppie?
Apparantly, humans that lived thousands of years ago aren't as unsophisticated as we once thought.
Thanks for the Ping.
Jimmy has a pair just for you.
Umm, high TECH, not high heeled.
I am DIE'N ova here!!!!
Jimmy: "Hey look. Hank's got a new boyfriend. Jimmy's not threatened by Hanks sexuality ... Jimmy's happy for Hank."
Elaine: "Elaine once tried to convert one but Elaine's not going through that again."
I'm interested in archeology. If your GGG ping list is about that subject, please put me on.
Jimmy: "Jimmy's been watchin' you. Jimmy likes what he sees."
It's anthropology,archaeology and ancient history. Click on my name and go to my links for some sampling of previous articles posted. SunkenCiv manages the GGG Ping list.
Most of the domesticated primates of Terra do not know they are primates. They think they are something apart from and "superior" to the rest of the planet....
Jimmy's on right now! LOL!
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest -- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
The ancient world always seems to have a few surprises for us.
great article! Thanks
Wonder if they used a computer or trial and error?