Volume 23, Issue 4 (October 1978)
The Individuality of Human Footprints
An aspect of human identification that has received scant attention from forensic anthropologists is the study of human feet and the footprints made by the feet. During the last ten years, I have worked with archaeologists from Washington University (St. Louis) in studying the use of caves by prehistoric peoples in the Flint-Mammoth Cave region of Kentucky [1,2]. In some isolated sections of the caves, footprints of the early peoples have been found in dust and in soil that once was mud. Some of the footprints were made by bare human feet; others are of sandal (moccasin) impressions. When found, the footprints are recorded and photographed, usually by a Cave Research Foundation photographer, and left in situ. I measured some of the dust footprints in the lower passage of Salts Cave (Flint Ridge Cave system) in 1972, but at that time equipment was not available to “lift” a footprint so that it could be examined more fully in the laboratory.