Archaeologists find submerged Stone Age settlement and 6,500 year-old boat in Denmark
An energy company replacing sea cables in the Smalandsfarvandet Sea in Demark, made a spectacular discovery when they found what now appears to be the oldest boat ever found in the country, along with a submerged Stone Age settlement, according to a news release in DR.
The SEAS-NVE energy company was replacing the cables near Askø Island in the north of Lolland in the southern part of Zealand, when they came across a number of ancient artifacts. Marine archaeologists from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde immediately began examining the site and have now confirmed the presence of a 6,500-year-old boat, as well as a Neolithic settlement. The coastal settlements would have become submerged thousands of years ago after sea levels rose.
Divers from the SEAS-NVE energy company came across ancient artifacts while laying cables. Image source .
The boat is a 7-metre long dugout made of linden, similar to that shown in the featured image. Linden wood was a popular material to use as it was abundant during the Neolithic period after the melting of the Weichselian glaciation of the last Ice Age. It was also one of the tallest trees in the forests, it can be easily carved, and is a light wood, making it much easier to carry compared to other tree types from old-growth forests. It is believed that boats were used at this time for fishing and for transport between the many islands in Smålandsfarvandet.
Researchers believe that boats were used 6,500-years ago for transport between the islands of Smålandsfarvandet in Denmark. Image source .
An interesting feature of the boat is that a split in the wood had been repaired by putting a bark strip over it, drilling holes on either side of it, and binding it down with string. The cord is now being analysed to determine how it was made. It is possible that the a resin may have also been used to help seal the crack.
Jørgen Dencker, the head of marine archaeology at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, said that they hope to find more organic material – such as wood, bone or antlers – which could have been preserved by the unique low-oxygen conditions in the water.
The discovery enhances understanding about boat construction and repair during the Neolithic period, and may yet reveal more secrets that have lain hidden on the sea floor for more than six millennia.
Featured image: Making a dugout canoe. Image source: Wikipedia