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Sandals buried in a bat cave in southern Spain may be the oldest footwear ever discovered in Europe,…

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Sandals buried in a bat cave in southern Spain may be the oldest footwear ever discovered in Europe, according to scientists.[0] The sandals, estimated to be up to 6,200 years old, were found in the Cueva de los Murciélagos, also known as the Cave of the Bats, in Albuñol, Granada.[1] The cave was first discovered in the 19th century during mining activities and has since revealed several mummified corpses and various artifacts.[2]

The sandals, made of intricately-woven grass, are among dozens of items that were discovered in the cave system as scientists were hunting for bat droppings.[0] The low humidity levels within the cave preserved the footwear and other perishable objects. The sandals are considered to be the oldest and best-preserved set of plant fiber materials in southern Europe.[2]

The discovery of these sandals challenges previous assumptions about the technological capabilities of prehistoric communities in southern Europe.[3] Francisco Martínez Sevilla, a researcher at the University of Alcalá, stated that the quality and technological complexity of the basketry found in the cave suggests that human communities had advanced craftsmanship skills even before the arrival of agriculture.

The cave also yielded other artifacts, including baskets, a wooden hammer, and mummified corpses. These findings provide valuable insight into the lifestyles and practices of hunter-gatherer societies and early farmers in southern Europe between 9,500 and 6,200 years ago.[4]

The sandals and other objects from the cave were first discovered in the 19th century by miners, who used the cave to mine bat guano.[5] Archaeologist Manuel de Góngora y Martínez visited the cave in 1867 and collected the remaining artifacts, including the sandals, which were then studied by researchers.[6] The artifacts are now part of the collections of the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid and other museums.[7]

The sandals were carbon-dated and found to belong to two different time periods.[8] The older objects, dating back to 7950-7360 BC, were created by hunter-gatherers during the Mesolithic age.[9] The later objects, dating back to 4370-3740 BC, were likely used by Neolithic farmers.[10]

The discovery of these ancient sandals and other artifacts in the Cueva de los Murciélagos provides valuable insights into the lives of prehistoric communities in southern Europe. The technological diversity and treatment of raw materials found in the cave challenge previous assumptions about the capabilities of these communities. The well-preserved artifacts shed light on the craftsmanship skills and cultural practices of these ancient societies.

0. “Europe's oldest shoes found in Spanish caves” The Week, 29 Sep. 2023, https://theweek.com/digest/europes-oldest-shoes-found-in-spanish-caves

1. “Scientists say 6,200-year-old shoes found in cave challenge “simplistic assumptions” about early humans” CBS News, 29 Sep. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oldest-shoes-europe-discovered-spain-cave-6200-years-old-woven-grass-sandals

2. “Europe's oldest pair of shoes found in Spanish bat cave” The Independent, 29 Sep. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/europe-shoe-old-spain-b2420786.html

3. “Spain's Newest Cave Discovery Is Home To Over 100 Ancient Paintings” TheTravel, 25 Sep. 2023, https://www.thetravel.com/newest-cave-discovery-in-spain-over-100-paintings

4. “The earliest basketry in southern Europe: Hunter-gatherer and farmer plant-based technology in Cueva de los …” Science, 27 Sep. 2023, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adi3055

5. “Mystery Surrounds Discovery of Sandals Found at Stone Age Burial Site” Newsweek, 29 Sep. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/sandals-found-stone-age-burial-site-spain-1830889

6. “6000 Year Old Shoes Found In Andalucian Cave « Euro Weekly News” Euro Weekly News, 29 Sep. 2023, https://euroweeklynews.com/2023/09/29/6000-year-old-shoes-found-in-andalucian-cave/

7. “These 6,000-year-old sandals found in a Spanish cave are Europe’s oldest shoes” CNN, 29 Sep. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/style/article/6000-year-old-woven-sandals-spain-intl-scli-scn/index.html

8. “Earliest Baskets in Europe, From Almost 10,000 Years Ago, Found in Spanish Cave – Archaeology” Haaretz, 27 Sep. 2023, https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/2023-09-27/ty-article/earliest-baskets-in-europe-from-almost-10-000-years-ago-found-in-spanish-cave/0000018a-d71f-d476-abcf-f7ff5b860000

9. “Europe's oldest shoes found in Spanish cave” The Telegraph, 28 Sep. 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/09/28/europes-oldest-shoes-found-spanish-cave/

10. “Evidence of the oldest hunter-gatherer basketry in southern Europe discovered in Spanish Cave” arkeonews, 28 Sep. 2023, https://arkeonews.net/evidence-of-the-oldest-hunter-gatherer-basketry-in-southern-europe-discovered-in-spanish-cave/

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