Old snowshoe

Photo: Roman Clara/Bolzano regional government
Photo: Roman Clara/Bolzano regional government

World oldest, dating late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC (5,800 years ago). Discovered by chance in 2003 at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280ft) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier… by an eminent dotore of Italy’s Istituto Geografico Militare. Just 500 years older than “Ötzi“, whose body was found not far away, according to “officials at a Bolzano (ITA) conference, it belongs to Otzi’s grandad

    Let’s be technical here a few seconds here:

  • Ötzi was found on 19 September 1991 “at 3210 m above sea level near Tisenjoch/Giogo di Tisa in the Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley” (according to South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano), on the Hauslabjoch (according to Wikipedia), “between Fineilspitze and Similaun in the Ötztal Alps” (Wikipedia). There is a memorial (detail) is located nearby (well, this is crowbased data, so YMMV: someone pointed out that the geodata for the detail picture is falsh). OSM data (sic) shows the “exact location” (exakte Ötzi-Fundstelle) where the body was discovered at 46.7793692/10.8404561. This is consitent with the other geographical reference used when relating to the area of the discovery : Finailspitze (sometimes spelled Fineilspitze, in Italian: Punte de Finaile), 3514m, is the nearest summit to the West and ‪(Kleiner) Similaun‬, 3363m, the nearest to the East. A mountain lodge called ‪Rifugio Similaun‬ (German: Similaunhütte) is located between the monument and Similaun, and Hauslabjoch is symmetrically located between the monument and Fineilspitze.
  • The snowshoe was found “near a pass on Gurgler Eisjoch glacier” – not sure where the glacier is, but OSM geodata for the Gurgler Eisjoch‬ pass has 46.7687911/11.0048965 for coordinates, with an altitude of 3134m

Both locations are not far from the Ötztaler Hauptkamm, a very high mountain range, one of the few things in the area which are in the same place since 3,800 BC and currently marking the border between the present states of Italy and Österreich (“Eastern Empire”, Austria). Using Andrew Hedges‘ JavaScript page based on the Haversine Formula (details and other calculator here), we compute the distance to be 12.58 km (Ötzi being West, and snowshoe East). So, yes, not very far. I would say 2 days away (walking). A few minutes in helicopter, weather (an pilot nerves) permitting, of course.

News on Bolzano’s “Iceman” museum website. The initial source (other than Bolzano’s museum piece, but as the pres conference was suposedly in bolzano, I believe they knew all about it, no?) is an article in The Telegraph (September 12, 2016): World’s oldest snowshoe found on a glacier in Italy’s Dolomites. But I like this one better: Shoe that lay in prof’s office is nearly 6,000 years old.
Question, why is The Telegram the unique single source? After all it is the newspaper who published “Oetzi the Iceman may have been ceremonially buried” (signed by Nick Squires, 26 Aug 2010). Much more interesting than:

The copper used to make Ötzi’s axe blade did not come from the Alpine region as had previously been supposed, but from ore mined in southern Tuscany. Ötzi was probably not involved in working the metal himself, as the high levels of arsenic and copper found in his hair had, until now, led us to assume. His murder over 5,000 years ago seems to have been brought about due to a personal conflict a few days before his demise, and the man from the ice, despite his normal weight and active life-style, suffered from extensive vascular calcification.

From South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano: Ötzi – a treacherous murder – with links to Central Italy