search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Neolithic Snowshoe Found in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains

Monday, September 12, 2016

Italy Alps snowshoe2BOLZANO, ITALY—The Telegraph reports that a snowshoe discovered on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier at an altitude of about 10,000 feet has been dated to between 3800 and 3700 B.C. The snowshoe, made of birch wood, was found by cartographer Simone Bartolini of Italy’s Military Geographical Institute in 2003 while he was mapping the border with Austria. Bartolini says that he thought the snowshoe might have been about 100 years old, but he recently realized that it could be much older and handed it over to archaeologists. The new date suggests that the snowshoe is about 500 years older than the frozen mummy known as Ötzi the Iceman, who was found in the same region about 25 years ago. Catrin Marzoli, director of the cultural heritage department for South Tyrol province, said at a press conference that the shoe is further evidence that well-equipped people were traveling through the Alps in the Neolithic period, perhaps hunting, fleeing enemies, or engaging in ritual activity. The snowshoe will eventually go on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, where the Ötzi's remains are housed. To read more about Ötzi, go to “Heart Attack of the Mummies.”

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement