In 2004, archaeologist Angelo Sesana published a report in the journal Memnonia, regarding a 2,000-year-old find he and his team had stumbled across in Egypt. As recapped by LiveScience, Sesana’s team found a jar “deliberately placed in a small space between two mudbrick walls” inside a Luxor temple. Inside were seven pairs of shoes. As for why the shoes were left in that jar, and the fate of their owners, we simply don’t know.
Ancient Egyptian footware expert André Veldmeijer, whose job is officially more interesting than any others jobs, examined pictures of the shoes sent to him by Sesana. His assessment was that these shoes were likely quite expensive and foreign-made, so whoever put them there were likely high-society. But how high, we don’t know. They could’ve been royalty, or simply well-to-do commoners. Either way, they apparently felt the need to discard their expensive footwear in a jar, place the jar between two walls in a tight place others weren’t likely to look, and then just leave them there. Were they possibly going to retrieve them later, only to be murdered first? Did they leave them there for others to use, like an ancient Goodwill? Nobody knows.
We also don’t know exactly how old they are. They’re at least 2,000 years old, but without carbon dating, there’s no way to know for sure. Sadly, carbon dating might prove challenging, as the shoes didn’t handle well at all when removed from their hidey-hole. As Veldmeijer recapped in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, the shoes looked to be in shockingly pristine shape when left alone. But almost as soon as they were handled, they crumbled and became extremely brittle. They’re currently protected by the Ministry of State for Antiquities, so anyone interested in unlocking this mystery might want to get on it stat, before the shoes crumble into dust forever.