Pair of Terracotta Boots, c.900 B.C., Terracotta
The Museum of the Ancient Agora, Athens
We're finishing off our week-long survey of Dark Age Greece with a wonderfully suggestive object – one that literally allows us to step into the shoes of the people of the ancient world. It's a pair of terracotta boots from almost three thousand years ago. Preserved in an early geometric period cremation of a woman in the agora, Athens, they provide us with a rare glimpse into Dark Age clothing, the perishable fabric of which does not often survive in the archaeological record. The thick soles, rounded toes, open front (which would most likely have been laced), flaring high sides and the pattern marked over the instep all seem to describe a specific type of boot that might have been worn in the 9th century BCE – and yet, to us today, it doesn't look all that unfamiliar at all.