FOOTPRINTS TO THE PAST

An adventurous scientific experiment: European archaeologists and trackers from the Kalahari Desert work side by side to make sense of mysterious footprints left by humans during the last Ice Age.

This documentary follows a unique archaeological experiment which studies tracks left by our ancient ancestors during the last Ice Age in caves in southwest France: along with their cave paintings, these early Europeans also left us the imprints of their bare feet, heels and toes. The scientists face the challenge of finding out if these mysterious footprints can tell us anything about early human life. For the first time ever, they decide not to rely solely on Western research methods but to seek the assistance of the San, the best trackers in southern Africa. This bold move was the brainchild of two Cologne archaeologists Tilman Lenssen-Erz and Andreas Pastoors. After all, what would be more obvious than to enlist the help of the world's last hunter-gatherers who track and read signs on a daily basis and have a vast wealth of experience? What new findings will this unconventional cooperation bring out of the Ice Age darkness into the light of the 21st century? Will the trackers discover more information in the footprints than the Western scientists, or will they have a totally different interpretation?

Genre Archeology / History
Length 90’ / 52’ HD
Film by Sylvia Strasser
Production Paolo-Film for ZDF/ARTE, 2014
Original Title Fußspuren in die Vergangenheit / Des pisteurs sur les traces du passé
Year 2014

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An adventurous scientific experiment: European archaeologists and trackers from the Kalahari Desert work side by side to make sense of mysterious footprints left by humans during the last Ice Age.

This documentary follows a unique archaeological experiment which studies tracks left by our ancient ancestors during the last Ice Age in caves in southwest France: along with their cave paintings, these early Europeans also left us the imprints of their bare feet, heels and toes. The scientists face the challenge of finding out if these mysterious footprints can tell us anything about early human life. For the first time ever, they decide not to rely solely on Western research methods but to seek the assistance of the San, the best trackers in southern Africa. This bold move was the brainchild of two Cologne archaeologists Tilman Lenssen-Erz and Andreas Pastoors. After all, what would be more obvious than to enlist the help of the world’s last hunter-gatherers who track and read signs on a daily basis and have a vast wealth of experience? What new findings will this unconventional cooperation bring out of the Ice Age darkness into the light of the 21st century? Will the trackers discover more information in the footprints than the Western scientists, or will they have a totally different interpretation?

Archeology / History
Length
90’ / 52’ HD
Film by
Sylvia Strasser
Production
Paolo-Film for ZDF/ARTE, 2014
Original Title
Fußspuren in die Vergangenheit / Des pisteurs sur les traces du passé