Shoe concealments

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Re: Shoe concealments

#26 Post by das » Sat May 21, 2011 6:12 am

DW,

Some claim Romans "concealed" (sacrificed) human infants in new building foundations. Others, Nazi engineers "concealed" puppies (and kittens?) in Fortress Europa bunkers while pouring concrete, and in Swann:1966 (post) the shoe as a stand-in for human sacrifice has been theorized, though far more grizzly than generic "for good luck", as one possible explanation. Questions abound--answers are thin on the ground.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#27 Post by dearbone » Sat May 21, 2011 6:43 am

Al,

I left Iran few months after the shah,but i wish i brought with me some giveh, The hanging of shoes on doors or above the entrance doors is not as much a city practice but a rural one and the countries there are not homogeneous but very diverse cultures and world-views, there are myths associated with the shoes for sure in the near east,like it is good omen to bury worn shoes,These myths are not generally known or written but maybe whispered in the earsImage,the UK shoe concealment finds could be an old native people practice of the island. Now You got me thinking about shoes in a new light,I will be thinking concealment shoes when i see an old/abandoned building. Very interesting topic.

Best regards
Nasser

(Message edited by dearbone on May 21, 2011)

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Re: Shoe concealments

#28 Post by marc » Sat May 21, 2011 7:59 am

Al, the Nazi thing is only recorded in a novel. I don't believe it's ever been proven.

Our major problem here is that we don't have enough data, and so really need to avoid drawing massive conclusions. We have no data on all, or even most, concealments of stuff in walls, of which shoes are only one sort. Part of the problem is that since JS's first articles, people are now thinking "shoes in walls", and so may be more inclined to report those, but we still don't know about other stuff in walls, like trash dumps that are unreported.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#29 Post by dearbone » Sat May 21, 2011 11:04 am

Al,

From as little as i know about roman history and as the legend put it,from the defeat of one tribe to the other in the island of Alba,just out side Rome and their subsequent move to Rome and their building on the hill and the subsequent conquest of the Latins/Italians tribes first under their first five kings and the rest of the world later under the republicans in summary,but i found them/their tribe to be mild manners in comparison with certain modern Europeans:,so the "sacrificed infants in new building foundations" is hard to fit to say the least.

Nasser

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Re: Shoe concealments

#30 Post by das » Mon May 23, 2011 8:35 am

Nasser,

Sounds like June wants to know more about giveh, if you know more please share.

"I saw the giveh being worn in countryside, completely covered in dust, so you could barely tell they’d been white.
I wonder if adjacent countries had the same practice – I saw quite a bit of near/middle east roundabout that time, and of course Turkey from one end to the other N-S, E-W over many years from 1964."

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Re: Shoe concealments

#31 Post by dearbone » Mon May 23, 2011 10:55 am

Al,

The giveh is a farmers/country folks shoe, it is 35 or 40 years since i have last seen a pair, they were made of weaved white cotton upper with some leather strap to cover the back seam,and a wiry soles which i think to be intestine,can't remember if they were straight shoes(a symmetric last) or crooked

Some makers of the giveh have moved up with time latelyImage and now making the upper in different colors(acid colors) and the use of rubber soles.

I am not sure which country beside Iran makes the giveh,I heard they are exporting many of them to the neighboring countries,but if there are other places/countries that make them,those will be Afghans,Turkey and the east part of Russian countries which are akin to the Persians in language and culture.

Best regards
Nasser

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Re: Shoe concealments

#32 Post by das » Mon May 23, 2011 11:30 am

Nasser,

Thanks, I'll pass this along to June.

Cheers,

Al

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Re: Shoe concealments

#33 Post by das » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:54 am

** Why Australian settlers hid shoes **
Items of clothing found concealed in Australian buildings tell the story of a battle waged by early settlers with the evil spirits they feared were lying in wait.
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16801512>

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Re: Shoe concealments

#34 Post by kemosabi » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:34 am

I've been wondering what to do with all those experiments that didn't turn out right!

-Nat

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Re: Shoe concealments

#35 Post by simon_brusa » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:11 am

Hello,
I live in the countryside and often with my girlfriend and our dogs go for walks in the surrounding mountains.
From our side there are several abandoned villages where once (up to half of 900) farmers lived.
In these countries I found these shoes now ruined by water and time.
These are the oldest but the best preserved: they belonged to a man born in 1884, I found with his papers. They are only made with leather and the soles with nails.
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These also must be very old, even they are all made of leather and soles with nails. They are only 20cm long!
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These are the ones I found together in a small old farmhouse unsafe.
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There does seem to be more recent, have rubber soles and seem less old than the others. A couple I opened it to see how they were taken inside. They were sewn with a welt Alpine.
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I read that in those days the shoemaker worked like this:
The families who needed a new pair of shoes bought from street vendors the leather and then called the shoemaker who was going to their house for a few days to make shoes to those who served.

For a pair of shoes the shoemaker took no more than two days all by itself.

Of course in those days the families were poor and had only a pair of shoes for one, and until they were completely destroyed not changed.
It was therefore necessary that the shoes were more resistant as possible.

Simon

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Re: Shoe concealments

#36 Post by tmattimore » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:36 am

I belive the ones in the 4th photo are Italian army mountain boots. The toe cap is quite distinctive.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#37 Post by simon_brusa » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:49 am

For the fourth picture you mean fourth photo or fourth shoe?
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And the fourth picture that this is only 20 cm long, looks like a shoe for kids or some woman very very small.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#38 Post by tmattimore » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:13 am

Yes that is the one. My grandfather from Calabria stood 5 feet 3 inches and wore a size 7 shoe. In 1917 he was an average sized man. The lug type rubber soles have been around at least since the 1940's.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#39 Post by das » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:52 am

Check Vibram's website--I think the familiar "lug sole" pattern started in 1937?????

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Re: Shoe concealments

#40 Post by tmattimore » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:52 pm

For Simone
This is the infantry version but note the toe cap.
14520.jpg

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Re: Shoe concealments

#41 Post by das » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:52 am

Proxy Post--

I looked at Simone's pictures, and the shoe concealments thread comments, some of which are very useful. Marc comes over as very skeptical – so was I until I got to 40+ examples, now it’s a couple of 1000+. I was first convinced there was something provoking ‘concealing’ when John Thornton said he’d had 1/2 dozen shoes sent to him from various chimneys – ‘That’s funny, so I have, and from walls and roof’, I said. As I accumulated them without attempting any explanation, with my first article merely listed the facts of finds, in hope someone would tell me it was well known and refer me to some reference. No one has yet done that, but it doesn’t stop the facts existing, and still accumulating.

Of course at the back of my mind, I always wondered why on earth anyone would do such daft things: hang an old clapped-out shoe on a nail under the floorboards. I hang keys on nails out of sight, but worn out shoes? Maybe an ‘aah!’ type child’s shoe in the master bedroom wall might be linked to fertility, like the old boots/shoes tied on back of wedding cars/carriages for as long as anyone can remember. A name on a slip of paper with, or usually without, a coin inside a shoe in the ceiling might just mean ‘I was here’ – the origin of ‘Kilroy was here’?--which I seem to recall was an Americanism often quoted, like the 1984 comment on HCC site, and the 1876 note in one of a pair of men’s work boots I found in London Museum. ‘This was don’, he wrote.

I’ve never suggested there was any "ritual" involved, but what do you call writing on a bit of paper and putting it in a boot and hiding it – or taking photo of 3 people doing it. Timothy Easton’s evidence that some of the ‘entry points’ (his clumsy term) were so inaccessible, it required considerable effort to make the deposit, but make it they did, often in dark corners of darker attics. I was apprehensive when I was invited to drop a bit of ceiling debris down a hole in an attic floor next to late medieval chimney ‘to listen how long it takes to hit the bottom’ – why did he need me to do that? Was he planning disposing of a body? Why? How many more were lured like that, and not only by that man? I’ve often thought you didn’t need to believe in a superstition, but when things are desperately wrong, they might always be worth trying – better than doing nothing. I’ve always tended to call it ‘superstitious practice’, and then got torn to shreds by some ‘folklore’ gang as I hadn’t used the right word – never did find out what right word was.

I loved the comment from Nasser re burying worn shoes must be whispered in the ear. I’m sure that’s the impression I’ve got from talking to people about it, and that only selected people are told – dreadful experience I had when a man refused to say a word to me of any sort when his wife had told me he knew more about finding the shoe.

Marc should read T. Easton’s ‘Spiritual Middens’ if Society of Historical. Archeaology publishes Baltimore conference papers. I keep getting bits of it from him, in pretty dire state, so wordy the meaning’s unclear. Incidentally, tell Nasser that I looked at quite a few giveh. Some soles were made from rows of rags compressed together in pretty colours, very effective, and of course economical to make--labour intensive, but no worse than our rag rugs.

What country did the boots and shoes come from I was supposed to see at ‘Your image here’? The ‘1884’ man’s boot looks early 1900s+. Interesting hob pattern. Twenty cm boots probably boy’s, same date. Old farmhouse square toes look older, or 1940s. I spotted the WWI Italian army boots before I got to someone else of same opinion. Rubber-soled 1930s(?), though rubber so used from 1840s, if not earlier in US. I think in England you’d have a job to buy leather and take it to shoemaker since maybe Middle Ages or 1500s. – I hadn’t heard that story. My father used to buy leather soles, which he’d shape to our shoes (pre-1939), and a Sat. job was taking them to a little factory to stand and watch them Blake-sewn on for him to finish off-- I doubt you could do it here since.

June Swann

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Re: Shoe concealments

#42 Post by das » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:00 am

Proxy Post--

P.S.
Re Italian army boot: forgot to say I know WWI, as we have the Northamptonshire-made versions in Northampton Museum, on show, until staff unwisely took all the army footwear off display. Several more turned up when I worked there, so maybe they weren’t all exported. And of course the style could even have started before 1914-18, or continued later. Museum of London pair of workmen’s boots I mentioned above, concealer gave his name, date of birth and, ‘This was don in 1876’, which was 12 years later than the finder said (that they had to be date of the building, ‘as there had been no possible access since’).
June

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Re: Shoe concealments

#43 Post by dlskidmore » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:54 am

Where I'd read about this before, it was assumed to be a superstition about evil spirits. A shoe, a very personal item that has molded to the shape of a foot, carries enough essence of the person to fool spirits coming in through the chimney, and they pester the shoe rather than the inhabitants inside.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#44 Post by mcmanning » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:16 am

I've actually unearthed a couple of references to this practice (shoe concealment) in the written record, as well as come up with a possible origin and function for these concealments. Of course, the purpose/function changed over time, but my theory links all of these ideas together. All of this will be in my thesis, which is now standing at over 300 pages. I keep trying to get it out but final edits are taking longer than anticipated. Please know that I will post an electronic copy on my academia.edu page as soon as it's available. (http://ballstate.academia.edu/ChrisManningPratt/Papers).

Cheers,
Chris

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Re: Shoe concealments

#45 Post by lludvig » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:54 pm

Hear are a article about a shoe find. Some pic and Swedish text. http://ludvigs.nu/?p=443

Ludvig
http://Ludvigs.nu

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Re: Shoe concealments

#46 Post by mcmanning » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:41 am

Thanks for the link Ludvig. I was able to pull up a rough translation of the text using Google. Most of you probably know how to do this, but just in case, here's the link to an English translation: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=sv&u=http://ludvigs.nu/%3Fp%3D443 &ei=evl2T7HIAdLjggeY1eTRDg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAA& prev=/search%3Fq%3DLudvig%2B%2522Klackarna%2Bi%2Btaket%2522%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1R 2ADSA_enUS379%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D543%26prmd%3Dimvns

Chris

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Re: Shoe concealments

#47 Post by marc » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:53 am

Since my name’s popped up on this, I’ll toss in my two cents – yes, I’m skeptical. My problem isn't that there are ritual appearing concealments (of shoes and other things as well as shoes). There are clearly some concealments that have some ritual purpose.

I know builders in this area who used to hide silver dollars the roof of a building they are putting up to protect the building from lighting. I also know some who just stuff their trash in any convenient hole in order to avoid taking stuff away from a site out of laziness. I know some people who have hidden things away in the house so that part of Grandma, or cousin Larry, or a lost child is still felt to be around, or simply to memorialize that they were here once. And some do it for the same reason that people write on walls, to show they, the concealers, were here. There are some concealments that we may never have the context to understand properly.

In short, my problem is the presumption of Universality, that ALL concealments are ritual and ALL are apotropaic in nature. It’s a short, easy answer that renders the whole topic trivial, and moreover trivializes possible other ritual reasons that things might be put away.

Remember, in archaeology the old joke is that any object that we don’t understand is a “ritual object.” That doesn’t mean it’s true.

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Re: Shoe concealments

#48 Post by marc » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:54 am

Chris,

Is there a way to download materials from your page without having to resort to Facebook?

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Re: Shoe concealments

#49 Post by das » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:53 am

June Swann says to read the comments section for additional:


** Why Australian settlers hid shoes **
Items of clothing found concealed in Australian buildings tell the story of a battle waged by early settlers with the evil spirits they feared were lying in wait.
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/magazine-16801512>

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Re: Shoe concealments

#50 Post by mcmanning » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:17 am

I think a major issue is how we define 'ritual'. Ritual does not necessarily refer to supernatural belief. Laying a cornerstone is a ritual. 'Topping out' a building under construction with a flag and/or evergreen tree is a ritual. Even signing your name in a hidden spot in a building is a ritual, albeit a very personal one.

Regarding my theories on the function of shoe concealments (and yes, after gathering data on more than 200 cases of shoe deposits in the United States, some deliberately cut in half, 'hung' up by string, and interred with pages from Bibles, etc., I do believe that the vast majority are deliberately concealed), there appear to be many possible reasons for the practice. I go into detail in my thesis, but don't feel comfortable putting all of that information out here until the thesis is officially submitted.

The term 'apotropaic' specifically means 'evil-averting'; however, the word is more broadly understood by concealment scholars as referring to actions or objects intended to repel evil, misfortune, fire and lightning, disease, or just plain bad luck, and conversely, to attract fortune and good luck. Using this definition, apotropaic can refer to the whole spectrum of belief, not just witchcraft.

Unfortunately my existing work (SHA paper and conference posters) are only available online through academia.edu at this time. If you'd like me to send you an electronic copy via email, drop me a line at mcpratt@bsu.edu.

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