The allure of ancient objects has piqued the interest of scholars and art historians alike but archaeologists seldom come across age-old relics in near-mint condition. A women’s boot with intricately bedazzled designs was discovered alongside other significant discoveries in Siberia’s Altai Mountains in 1948 along with jewelry food and firearms. This stunning shoe has an elaborate sole made of soft red leather and a geometric design sewn with pyrite crystals and black beads and is thought to be 2,300 years old.

Scythians were nomadic people who roamed the Eurasian continent in ancient times. The shoe in the Altai Mountains is believed to be one of the Scythian burial mounds that explain the abundance of other artifacts and clothes discovered nearby. Like other ancient cultures, these nomads buried their dead with necessities to aid their journey to the afterlife. Scythians built wooden cabin-like structures deep in the ground with each body put inside a log coffin filled with their belongings to bury their dead. This meticulous planning, together with the Altai Mountains’ permafrost protected the boot for decades.

The elegant beading on the leather shoe’s sole has caused a lot of interest and discussion on the internet. According to historians Scythians often socialized in front of a fire when seated on their knees allowing the decoration on the bottoms of their shoes to be noticeable to others and therefore an essential part of their dress. Some scholars believe the boot was designed specifically for burial which may explain the immaculate condition of the sole.

This magnificent shoe is now part of the collection of ancient objects at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Russia.

An ancient Scythian shoe dating back 2,300 years was uncovered in the Altai Mountains in 1948.

Approximate extent of Scythia in 1st century BCE. (Photo: Dbachmann via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0])
There is immaculate beading on the heel of this beautiful red leather bootie that has been kept for decades.

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H/t: [Open Culture | My Modern Met]