Archaeologists Uncover Stone Age Underwater Settlement

Posted: Nov 15 2016, 2:27pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 15 2016, 2:34pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Archeologists Uncover Stone Age Underwater Settlement
Credit: Arne Sjöström

The site is possibly a submerged remain of an ancient Stone Age lagoon community, which was once inhabitated by Mesolithic people

Researchers have discovered an almost fully intact Stone Age settlement in the waters off southern Sweden coast. They believe that the underwater site may be the part of an ancient lagoon environment that was once inhabited by Mesolithic people. Changes in sea level possibly descended the site at the bottom of Baltic Sea.

Researchers are now aiming to reconstruct the local landscape to understand the ancient environmental conditions and to investigate how those conditions changed over time.

“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?” said study researcher Anton Hansson from Lund University, Sweden.

“These sites have been known but only through scattered finds. We now have the technology for more detailed interpretations of the landscape.”

As parts of ongoing efforts to reconstruct the landscape, researchers have drilled into the seabed and also created a bathymetrical map that reveals depth variations of the submerged terrain. By using radiocarbon dating technology, researchers have also figured out the rough age of the settlement. They have also applied many other approaches like pollen, diatom and organic elemental analyzer to examine the sediment record more thoroughly.

Researchers believe this and other underwater settlements can also provide important clues on migratory patterns of ancient humans.

“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 of few of these are currently underwater, since the sea level is higher today than during the last glaciations. Humans have always preferred coastal sites.” Hansson said.

Besides newfound site, researchers have made several interesting findings in the Baltic Sea, including oldest known stationary fishing traps in northern Europe. The traps are made of braided hazel rods and likely helped humans catch lots of fish all over the sea. They have also found a unique pick axe made of elk antler which is estimated to be 9,000 years old.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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