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Team Finds Rare Underwater Stone Age Settlement in Sweden

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:58
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Scientists have found what is said to be the submerged remnants of an ancient Stone Age community off the coasts of Southern Sweden, according to a new report in the journal Quaternary International.

Researchers were able to recover a 9,000-year-old pick axe made from elk antlers, and eight fish traps crafted from braided hazel rods.

The scientists said the residents enjoyed the bounty of a nearby lagoon and probably had ‘good lives,’ buoyed by a favorable climate. Over the centuries, the lagoon sank as sea levels rose, and the waters of today’s Hanö Bay effectively preserved remnants of this society for millennia, the study team noted.

“As geologists, we want to recreate this area and understand how it looked. Was it warm or cold? How did the environment change over time?” Anton Hansson, a quaternary geology at Lund University in Sweden, said in a news release.

Full of Valuable Archaeological Information

The discovery, made outside the Verkeån River mouth, was found to hold valuable archaeological and geologic information. The elk antler pick axe discovered at the location is virtually 9,000 years old and is shrouded in inscriptions. The fish traps were dated back to between 9,000 and 8,500 years ago, and found all over the location. They likely caught a lot of fish, the researchers said.

The scientists have drilled down into the seabed and radiocarbon dated the core, and analyzed pollen and diatoms. They have also generated a bathymetrical map that showed depth changes.

The study team also said their findings indicate the start of a warm period during the Holocene history and a warm climate in what is now Southern Sweden. Settlers probably experienced warm summers in the midst of a pine-dominated forest.

“These sites have been known, but only through scattered finds. We now have the technology for more detailed interpretations of the landscape,” Hansson said. “If you want to fully understand how humans dispersed from Africa, and their way of life, we also have to find all their settlements.

“Quite a few of these are currently underwater, since the sea level is higher today than during the last glaciation. Humans have always preferred coastal sites,” he added.


Image credit: Arne Sjöström

The post Team finds rare underwater Stone Age settlement in Sweden appeared first on Redorbit.
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