Where to See the Oldest Artifacts in the World

From a royal soccer ball to a very old book, see humanity’s history of innovation in ten amazing everyday objects

The earliest surviving photograph, taken in 1826 or 1827, titled View from the Window at Le Gras. (Wikipedia)

If you want to feel connected to ancient history, just take a look at your shoes, listen to some music played on a flute or take a sip of wine—it turns out that some of the oldest items humans have made are remarkably similar to things we still use today. By examining some of the oldest artifacts, it's amazing to see how far society has come (the first photograph, for example, took hours to make and looks a lot more abstract than most cell phone photos) and yet how similar certain items remain (sure, we don't inflate soccer balls with pig bladders anymore, but the basic premise remains unchanged). Want to explore the history of humanity through some of its original innovations? Here's a list of ten of the world's oldest everyday objects—from an ancient leather shoe to the oldest Apple computer—and where you can go to see them.

Oldest Leather Shoe

History Museum of Armenia; Yerevan, Armenia

In 2010, archeologists found an extremely well-preserved, moccasin-like leather shoe in an Armenian cave. The shoe—which was stuffed with grass and preserved in sheep dung—fits a modern women's size seven, though archeologists aren't sure which sex the shoe was intended for. While the shoe isn't the oldest ever found (that honor goes to a 10,000-year-old shoe made of sagebrush fiber found in Fort Rock Cave, Oregon) it is the oldest leather shoe ever found (and the oldest shoe on display).

What makes the Armenian shoe remarkable, scientists note, is its wholly modern design—it's made from a single piece of cowhide, a technique that fetches top dollar in today's shoe market. The two layers of leather seem to have been cut to fit the foot, then stitched with more leather, resulting in a shoe that looks like a traditional Balkan shoe known as an opanke (still worn for special festivals).


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