Not all footwear is worth getting excited about.
Yup, I actually just wrote those words.
Once upon a time in 2011, people in Scotland decided to build a new supermarket.
Everyone was very excited about the project until the builders unearthed a garbage dump. But not just any garbage dump. A 2,000 year old garbage dump. The thing about garbage is that no one is interested unless it’s really old and then all kinds of people get excited.
2,000 year old garbage qualifies as old (and therefore interesting and exciting to some people).
In addition to coins, jewelry, pottery, and some animal bones, the excavators found 60 pairs of shoes and sandals. That’s a lot of footwear in any century.
Here’s the thing about shoes, imho. If they were in a garbage dump, they should probably stay in a garbage dump. And if they’re 2,000 years old, they probably aren’t in really wearable condition. Which makes me less than interested. Just sayin.’
Back to our story.
Turns out the Romans (always hungry and always good at location) built this particular ditch at a gateway to a second century CE fort along the Antonine Wall in the hopes that they’d have front row seats when the new grocery store opened. They didn’t hang out in Scotland that long and ditched (get it? ditched) some of their old shoes before they left (presumably to stall the permitting process for the grocery store).
They were probably issued new shoes before heading back to warmer climes. New shoes, a stalled grocery store, and a blog. Those Romans often did things right.
P.S. And have you noticed that gladiator-style sandals are back in style? Big influence, those Romans.