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Who's shoes?

After the discovery of a ceramic egg last week (see previous post), this week the building revealed even more secrets.

As the archaeologists systematically revealed what lay beneath the stone slabbed floor of the cart shed, they uncovered a wall 45 inches wide. This is the same measurement found at abbeys across the country and could suggest that we have discovered another wall of the Strata Florida abbey complex. Could it be the refectory? We will excavate further and keep you updated with out findings...

The medieval wall was not the only piece of history the building revealed however. Inside the Ty Pair, in the North West corner, directly beneath where we disocvered the cermaic egg, were 3 shoes! Pictured below, the shoes included a small Derby boot, and two Oxford style shoes. Upon consultation with Rebecca Shawcross, the Senior Shoe Curator at Northampton Museum, we discovered that the style of shoe dates from the 1870s onwards and these examples likely date from the early 1900s. Given their burial beneath the floor this helps us date the construction of this perplexing building.

The reasoning behind the tradition of burying shoes as part of construction projects is not clear. One explanation is that "A shoe is the only item of clothing which takes on the shape of the person wearing it. It is container shaped and it is thought people believed that it held something of the wearer’s essence even when it was not being worn, so that the good spirits contained in the shoe would ward off evil spirits", another is that they were signs of good luck and concealing them in buildings was likely to make to work successful.

Have you ever found shoes concealed when undertaking building work? Let us know in the comments!

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