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Evidence of the use of soft footwear in the Gravettian cave of Cussac (Dordogne, France)


ABSTRACT: Humans appear to have regularly worn footwear since at least the Early Upper Palaeolithic. However, due to the perishable nature of footwear, the archaeological record of its presence during the Pleistocene is poor. While footwear would have played an essential role in protecting the foot, it could also have been used as ornamentation and/or as a social marker. Footprints may provide the most relevant insight regarding the origin and function of footwear. Here we report the discovery of footprints in Cussac Cave (southwest France) at 28–31 ka cal BP and the results of a multi-focal approach, including experimentation, that demonstrate that Gravettian people most likely wore footwear while moving through the cave. These singular footprints would constitute one of the oldest cases of indirect evidence for this unusual practice in decorated Palaeolithic caves and reinforce the exceptional nature of Cussac already attested by the presence of monumental engravings and funerary deposits.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8610977 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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