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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Moccasin

May 24, 2018

Tainter MoccasinIt is rare to find artifacts and rock art in the same location. Tainter Cave in southwestern Wisconsin is one of those rare locations.  The cave is an ancient, deep cave filled with more than 100 rare drawings and carvings. This well-preserved 500-year-old sole of a hide moccasin (right) was collected from the surface of the floor (left). It still retains the configuration of what appears to have been the right foot of an adult. The fragment extends from the toe area to the back of the arch and beginning of the heel, where the hide is cut and shows stitch holes from being sewn to a heel section. The sole is made of relatively thick hide, presumably bison or elk. The inner surface exhibits imbedded flecks of a grass material that was probably used as insulation. The bottom side of the sole was slashed, but the cut did not pass through the sole. This is the only archaeological moccasin ever found in Wisconsin, and its preservation is due to the constant temperature and humidity of the cave.

Link to images of rock art at Tainter.