A Mesolithic village beneath the waves
Mesolithic artefacts from a lost settlement are coming to light after 6 millennia when currents scoured sand from the seabed just off the coast of Denmark in Horsens Fjord.
Science Nordic reports on a chance return to a stretch of coast where Peter Alstrup – now an archaeology PhD student at Aarhus University – had spent his childhood.
Alstrup dived on the site – which had been known since the 70s – and he noticed how the overlying sediments had been lost. There, lying on the seabed he discovered beautifully carved pieces of wood.
Alstrup reported this immediately to the local museum, where they soon realised that a unique and perfectly preserved Mesolithic site was now exposed. Archaeologists were then assembled to perform urgent excavations.
Finds included a bow, paddles and even antler axes complete with their handles and have been dated to the Ertebølle culture – a late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fisher culture in Denmark (c.6000-3500 BCE). The culture is characterised by its distinctive stone tools, massive shell middens at coastal sites, cemeteries with grave goods and the adoption of pottery, polished stone axes and agricultural methods gleaned from neighbouring farmers.
Short film showing a paddle being cleaned at the Moesgård Museum.
The film has no sound.
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- NEW INVESTIGATIONS ON SUBMARINE STONE AGE SITES IN THE WISMAR BAY AREA.