LONDON, UK – Archeologists have uncovered a series of artifacts dated to the 6th century in Northern France this week, identifying them as either an instrument of torture and humiliation, or a very extravagant woman’s shoe.
The artifact is crafted from wood and iron, and appears as though it would be attached to a human leg using a series of mechanical clasps and a rope winch. Many have theorized the device would have been used to bend the leg in unnatural and painful angles with the hopes of extracting some kind of confession, or fixing a woman’s posture so she appears more demure.
Dr. Reggie Barrington, professor of Medieval Studies at King’s College London, cites the corset as an example of a similar artifact that confused historians “I believe, upon their initial discovery, the corset was assumed to be a method of slowly killing your enemies, by way of asphyxiation, when in fact, they were actually a method of dazzling and impressing your suitors, by way of asphyxiation.”
For some antiquities, the debate continues today. “In fact, one of my graduate students has been preparing a thesis positing that stretching racks were designed to make women taller and were only later used on men as punishment. Historically speaking, what many women considered ‘average’ most men would consider unbearable,” added Barrington.
The recently discovered artifact also features a series of spikes, making it easy to imagine it was intended to injure and maim. However, those versed in the period say that spikes were often used to ‘keep women motivated towards beauty.’ One expert called it, “The Iron Maiden problem all over again.”
“Much has changed for women in this world,” says Barrington, whose research team is considered very diverse, with two female archaeologists out of a total fourteen. “I think we can all be grateful that women aren’t subjected to such rigid and unachievable beauty standards in this day and age.”
The discovery will appear at the London Museum in a traveling exhibit this fall, made possible by generous sponsorship from Manolo Blahniks and Cirepil Cosmetic Wax.
Image via Deposit Photos