UCL News


Press release: Humble shoelace tag carried more currency than gold on Columbus's travels

5 October 2006

The humble device that prevents shoelaces from fraying was deemed to be worth more than gold by the indigenous Cubans who traded with Columbus's fleet, a study led by UCL archaeologists has discovered.

Reporting in next month's edition of the 'Journal of Archaeological Science', the researchers analysed burial material - such as beads and pendants - excavated from one of the largest burial sites in northeast Cuba. To their surprise very little gold was discovered, despite its relative abundance in the region. Instead, the most common artefacts were small metal tubes made of brass that were often threaded into necklaces.

Read the complete press release.