Archaeologists claim to have uncovered Bronze Age ice skates made out of bones. The research was recently published in the Institute of Archeology CASS.
Two pairs of 3,500-year-old animal bone skates were discovered in China’s Xinjiang province. These skates, according to researchers, are a first-of-their-kind finding in China.
The skates are made from straight pieces of horse and ox bone and have holes at both ends to strap the flat “blade” to footwear.
Leather straps would have been tied to the wearer’s shod feet after being threaded through these holes.
These skates are almost exactly the same as 5,000-year-old skates found in Finland, and may reflect the exchange of ideas during the Bronze Age, said archaeologist Ruan Qiurong of the Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
According to Live Science, researchers think the site dates from about 3,600 years ago, when the region was occupied by people from the Andronovo culture of cattle-herders, which also occupied parts of Central Asia and the far east of Europe in the late Bronze Age.
The Goaotai Ruins are a settlement and a well-preserved tomb complex surrounded by a platform of stone slabs, thought to have been inhabited by cattle herders of the Andronovo culture.
Outside the wall, laterite (a rock type with high iron oxide) has been laid down in 17 lines in a radial pattern that, from above, resembles a sunburst. This can be a sign that sun worship was practiced in that culture.
The bone skates are rare physical evidence that helps researchers understand the origins of ice skating in China.