The World’s Oldest Snowshoe Sat in an Italian Cartographer’s Office for 12 Years
He thought it might be 100 years old. Turns out it’s 5,800.
Thirteen years ago, Simone Bartolini was mapping Italy’s border with Austria. High up in the mountains, at more than 10,000 feet, he found a wooden object—birchwood rounded into a snowshoe. It was obviously old, and he decided to take it with him.
For years, the snowshoe sat in his office in Florence, the Telegraph reports, as a curiosity. He thought it might be a century old, until he started to wonder. Could it be even older?
He gave the shoe to archaeologist to study, and the answer came back: it was much, much older. The archaeologists dated the object back to 3,700 B.C.
That makes this the oldest snowshoe ever found. It comes from the same area Ötzi, a famous mummy dated back to about 3350 B.C., which was discovered in 1991. The snowshoe, at 5,800 years old, predates the mummy by a few generations.
Bartolini won’t be keeping it in his office anymore; it’s going to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, where Ötzi also resides.
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