February 16, 2006

1,400-year-old Moccasin Found in Canadian Glacier

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Archeologists studying melting alpine ice for clues on early life in Canada's North have uncovered a 1,400-year-old moccasin, officials said on Thursday.

Researchers at first thought the artifact found in the southwest Yukon in 2003 was a hunter's bag, but after cleaning and reassembling the hide they realized it was the oldest aboriginal moccasin ever found in Canada.

The discovery is considered especially important because it far predates any European trade contact with the region, and it likely belonged to the early Athapaskan people who lived in the boreal forests.

"It is a significant addition to the wealth of archeological artifacts that have been found at Yukon ice patches," Yukon Culture Minister Elaine Taylor said in a news release.

Researchers studying melting ice patches under a joint program between the territory and local aboriginal groups have uncovered more than 180 hunting-related artifacts since the effort began in 1997.