SHOES
Although I was not the diver who recovered it, I remember one artefact that caught not only my attention but that of the whole team and the media. It was a small, complete child’s leather shoe. Back in the conservation laboratory, our conservation director Simon Aked, carefully took the shoe apart for treatment and in doing so, uncovered something totally unexpected.  Inside the ‘uppers’ of the shoe there were marks made from the toes of the child who had worn it. Now the strange thing was, that instead of one ‘big toe’ mark there were two – one on either side!
This gave us yet another strange mystery that required a rational explanation. Did the child have 6 toes? Once again much research was carried out and we came up with a document instructing that in order to even out the wear, thereby making them last longer, all shoes issued by the admiralty should be ‘daily changed from foot to foot’. 
 
Whilst on the subject of shoes, in addition to the child’s shoe we were finding lots of adult shoes. The majority were made from leather but the unusual thing about them was that the heels were secured to the soles with ‘Wooden Nails or Pegs’.
There was of course one logical explanation – iron nails might cause sparks which could have had disastrous consequences near gunpowder!