W. Groenman-van Waateringe THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ICEMAN'S SHOES REVISED (note; all figures can be enlarged by clicking on the figures) 1. Introduction The reconstruction of the Iceman's shoes as suggested by Goedecker- Ciolek (1993, Abb. 44, 46, see also fig.34) needs to be revised. Shoes with separate sole and upper are recorded for the first time in the Roman period (Groenman-van Waateringe 1974a, 1980; van Driel-Murray 1987). Until then shoes - either made from vegetable material (grasses or bark, Feldtkeller & Schlichtherle 1987) or from fur or leather (Hald 1972; Groenman-van Waateringe 1970, 1988, 1991; Groenman-van Waateringe & Smith 1984) were always made in the form of a mocassin or sandal. In so far as they are made from fur or leather, they are always one piece shoes (in German Bundschuhe), i.e. sole and upper in one. The preservation of the Iceman's shoes, both from the left and right foot, was extremely incomplete. For someone not familiar with prehistoric footwear, making a reconstruction from such limited remains is a hazardous undertaking. The presence of an `inner string sock' of grass complicated things even more. 2. The remains of the Iceman's shoes The remains from the left shoe were described as follows (Goedecker-Ciolek 1993, 101): What at first sight looked like a mass of grass and remains of leather straps proved after freeze-drying to be grass stems twisted and plaited in the form of a human foot. This `sock' was rather well preserved at the sides of the foot and round the instep, but the heel was gone. Skin remains from the shoe itself were only preserved near the toe. The preservation of the right shoe was much better, although again the heel part was missing (Goedecker-Ciolek 1993, 101-106). What was interpreted as the `sole' was oval in form and obviously worn with the hairside inwards. Paired slits had been cut out perpendicular to the edge. Through these a leather strap, 1.5-2 cm in width, was threaded. This leather strap also went through the loops at the bottom edge of the grass `sock', thus fixing the `sock' to the outer edge of the shoe. Leather straps tied across the width at the underside probably gave a better grip on slippery rocks, ice or snow (but see also note 4). A piece of skin interpreted as the `upper' had been worn hairside out. According to Goedecker-Ciolek (1993, 105),it was tied to the paired slits of the shoe through slits at its edge, with a 0.5 cm wide leather strip. However, this leather strip is not visible on the various drawings, specifically the "Arbeitsskizze" of fig. 45, but also the reconstruction of fig. 46. The edge along the instep of this `upper' also had slits through which a grass string was drawn. The interpretation by Goedecker-Ciolek was that the Iceman had worn shoes made up of a separate sole and upper held together with a leather strap as a kind of sole seam. Also tied to this sole seam was the `inner string sock' made of grass. This `sock' would have held in place the grass or hay, which served as insulation . 3. Other prehistoric shoe finds Most of the prehistoric shoe finds hitherto known from Europe have been described by Hald (1972), Groenman-van Waateringe (1970, 1988, 1991; Groenman-van Waateringe & Smith 1984) and Barth (1992). Recently a group of prehistoric shoe findshas been published from a cave in Missouri, USA, some of which are even older than the Iceman's, (Kuttruff, Dehart & O'Brien 1998) . The earliest American shoe finds, C-14 dated to the middle of the 8th- 5th millennium BC, were made from vegetable material. They are described as sandals, consisting of a sole held to the foot by means of straps, or slip-ons (one piece shoes with raised sides but without straps or fasteners (Kuttruff, Dehart & Obrien 1998, 72). Mocassin-like slip-ons made from leather were dated to around 1000 years ago. European shoe finds from the Neolithic are known from Switzerland and Spain (Feldtkeller & Schlichtherle 1987). The finds from Switzerland, dated between 3000 and 2800 BC are made from bark and are thought to be of the same type as the leather shoe from Buinen : bound around the instep and the foot. A Neolithic shoe from Spain, made from grass, is of the sandal type as were a pair of shoes made from limestone found in a late Neolithic grave in Portugal (Feldtkeller & Schlichtherle 1987, 82).
In the course of time the basic form of the one piece shoe changes, becoming a little more complicated (fig. 1). The oldest form is an oval with slits around the margin. The shoe was bound around the instep by a leather string threaded through the slits. Impressions in the leather point to an additional binding around the foot (cf. Hald 1972, figs 1, 3 and 5). This form is seen in shoes dating from the Neolithic and Early to Middle Bronze Age. The next basic form is a half-oval, rounded at the front, with slits at front and sides for binding the shoe around the instep, and straight at the back with smaller holes for a heel seam. The latest dates known so far for this type are 3rd century BC. More elaborately cut-out fronts are so far known from the 1st century AD and later. One piece shoes continue to be in use and are well known from the early Medieval period (Groenman-van Waateringe 1970, 1974b, 1976, 1984 and forthcoming) They are still used today in certain parts of the world (cf. Hald 1972 for the European evidence). 4. Revised reconstruction The reconstruction as given by Goedecker-Ciolek (1993, Abb. 46) is higly unlikely considering the type of prehistoric shoes known so far and the knowledge that shoes with separate soles are not known earlier than the Roman period. But these are not the only reasons. The kind of sole seam proposed is not feasible, since it was a roughly made and open seam, not able to keep out moisture from wet grass or snow. Moreover the amount of wear on this seam would have been considerable. The measurements given by Goedecker-Ciolek (1993, Abb. 44) are not understandable either. The reconstructed length points to a size 43 shoe, which seems rather long for the overall body length, while the width exceeds large size shoes by more than 4 cm. Walking on such oversized soles would be extremely inconvenient and practically impossible in the kind of terrain in which the Iceman was operating. When the rest of the Iceman`s equipment was highly practical, it is difficult to understand why such a vital part of his clothing would have been executed in such a clumsy way: both oversized and inclined to leak. However, the shoe length of the reconstruction in fig. 46 by Goedecker-Ciolek (1993) gives a size 37. As the foot length of the Iceman is 22,5 cm the correct shoe size will have been 35, allowing for 0.75 cm extra toe length . The foot size given in fig. 42 (Goedecker-Ciolek 1993), where it is supposed that the `string sock' extends to the sole of the foot, is only 21.3 cm or size 32. This is obviously far too small. This error is readily explicable, however, because the sock did not have to reach down to the sole, only to the raised margins.
The revised reconstruction of the Iceman's shoes presented here (fig. 2) takes as the basic form the one piece shoe bound around the instep with a leather string passing through slits in the raised margins of the shoe. This leather string also holds the `upper' in its place and passes through the loops of the grass `sock'. This means that the grass sock was not an `inner' sock but was bound to the raised margin of the shoe as a kind of soleless stocking (cf. Lucas 1956) or galosh. The insulation provided by the grasses inside the plaited `sock' was necessary rather for the shin than for the foot, which was kept warm by the furry inside of the shoe. Upper and `sock' were easily removed when not needed. It required only to draw the leather string out of the slits around the shoe margin to loosen the `sock' and `upper'. Parallels for the reconstruction as a one piece shoe with additional `upper' and `soleless stocking' can be found in several cultures still wearing one piece shoes or shoes that have this as a basic form, for e.g. the Amerindians (Gall 1980) and the Inuit (1996). Their footwear consists either of simple one piece shoes or of one piece shoes with vamp and leg section sewn to the raised margin (fig. 3). One could call this kind of seam a vamp seam. Sole seams are avoided for footwear to be worn outside, because of problems with wear and the possibility of moisture seeping through. They were, however, used by the Inuit for slippers or stockings to be worn inside boots. 5. Conclusion Although the shoes of the Iceman were in an extremely bad condition of preservation, comparisons with other prehistoric footwear and footwear from cultures still using simple but efficient models, such as Amerindians and Inuit (cf. also Hald 1972 for such footwear from Europe) forces us to propose a quite different reconstruction. The basic form of the Iceman's footwear would have been a one piece shoe with the addition of a kind of vamp and soleless stocking bound to its upper raised margins . NOTES 1. The description by Egg (1993, 70):" Es handelt sich um ein ovales Sohlleder, dessen Ränder hochgeschlagen und von einem kraftigen Lederriemen eingefabt waren. An diesem Lederriemen wurde ein Netz aus Grasschnüren das den Spann und die Fersen bedeckte befestigt" matches the revised reconstruction given here. Why then in a drawing in the same publication such a different and incorrect reconstruction is presented by one of the co-authors is difficult to understand. Comparison of fig. 45 with 46 shows a discrepancy between the mutual position of `upper' and `string sock'. According to fig. 45 the string sock is positioned on top of the `upper', which is correct. In fig. 46 (and in fig. 36), however, the `string sock' is covered by the `upper'. 2. Prehistoric footwear from the Near and Far East, consisting mostly of sandals made from a variety of material (Forbes 1966; Brooke 1972; van Driel-Murray 2000), will not be discussed here. 3. Recently Drs. J. Lanting (Department of Archaeology, State University of Groningen) had some of the prehistoric footwear from The Netherlands 14C dated, a.o. the shoe find from the Buinerveen. (Letters from J. Lanting to W. Groenman-van Waateringe d.d. 1.9.1995, 3 and 18.2.1997). The dates are in general later than those originally based on palynological data from peat still adhering to the finds (Groenman-van Waateringe 1970, 1991). The proposed typology, however, still holds true (see fig. 1). 4. Twin furrows under the arch of feet in Norwegian rock carvings and lines around so-called boot vessels are thought to indicate the binding of footwear around the arch of the foot (Hald 1972, 17-18, figs 7-8). 5. The caliga, pre-eminent Roman military footwear, consists basically of a one piece shoe with the addition of an outer- and an innersole. 6. With the exception of Roman sandals dated to the 3rd century AD with extremely broad toes and the so-called Kuhmule or duck- bills of the first half of the 16th century. 7. I want to thank Dr. P. Hlavacek, technical University of Zlin, Czech Republic, for the measurement of the Iceman's foot length. 8. This would mean a size 37 for modern shoes with hard and stiff soles. 9. I want to thank Prof. W.S. Hanson, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow, for improving my English. BIBLIOGRAPHY Barth, F.E., 1992. Prähistorisches Schuhwerk aus den Salzbergwerken Hallstatt und Dürrnberg/Hallein. In: A. Lippert & K. Spindler (Hrsg.), Festschrift zum 50jährigen Bestehen des Institutes fr Ur- und Frühgeschichte der Leopold-Franzens- Universität Innsbruck. Bonn, 25-35. Brooke, I. 1972. Footwear. A short history of European and American shoes. London. Driel-Murray, C. van, 1987. Studies in leatherwork from Roman archaeological sites in North Western Europe. Thesis, University of Amsterdam. Driel-Murray, C. van, 2000. Leatherwork and skin products. In: P.T. Nicholson & I. Shaw (eds.), Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. Cambridge, 299-319. Feldtkeller, A. & H. Schlichtherle, 1987. Jungsteinzeitliche Kleidungsstücke aus Ufersiedlungen des Bodensees. Archäologische Nachrichten aus Baden 38/39, 74-83. Forbes, R.J. 1966. Studies in ancient technology V. Leiden. Gall, G., 1980. Deutsches Ledermuseum/Deutsches Schuhmuseum. Katalog 6. Offenbach. Goedecker-Ciolek, R. 1993. Zur Herstellungstechnik von Kleidung und Ausrüstungsgegenständen. In: M. Egg, R. Goedecker-Ciolek, W. Groenman-van Waateringe & K. 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[Berichte ber die Ausgrabungen in Haithabu 21.] Neumünster. Groenman-van Waateringe, W. 1988. Een prehistorische schoen uit Klazienaveen. Nieuwe Drentse Volksalmanak 106, 146-150. Groenman-van Waateringe, W. 1991. Wederom prehistorisch schoeisel uit Drente. Nieuwe Drentse Volksalmanak 108, 128-135. Groenman-van Waateringe, W. 2000. The Leather work. In: A. Crone, The history of a Scottish lowland crannog: excavations at Buiston, Ayrshire 1989-90. Edinburgh, 128-133, 263. Groenman-van Waateringe, W. & A. Smith, 1984. Een schoen uit de late Bronstijd. Nieuwe Drentse Volksalmanak 104, 133-142. Hald, M. 1972. Primitive shoes. An archaeological-ethnological study based upon shoe finds from the Jutland peninsula. [Publications of the National Museum, Archaeological-Historical Series I, XIII.] Copenhagen. Kuttruff, J.T., S.G. Dehart & M.J. O'Brien, 1998. 7500 years of prehistoric footwear from Arnold Research Cave, Missouri. Science 281, 72-75. Lucas, A.T. 1956. Footwear in Ireland. County Louth Archaeological Journal 13, 309-394. Oakes, J. & R. Riewe, 1996. Our boots. An Inuit women's art. London. Captions to figures 1-3. Fig. 1. 14C dated prehistoric footwear from raised bogs in The Netherlands. Top Middle Bronze Age, middle and bottom Iron Age. Photo F. Gijbels, IPP. Fig. 2. Revised reconstruction of the Iceman's shoes and socks. Drawing B. Donker, IPP. 1:3. Fig. 3. Inuit shoe and boot with cutting patterns. Drawing B. Donker, IPP. After Oakes & Riewe figs 50 and 62. This site has been visited times since 18-08-2001.