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The careful removal of Stone Age remains from excavation at Stokke

8,000-year-old "Brunstad Man" Stone Age Skeleton May be Oldest Ever Found in Norway

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A skeleton uncovered in Norway is believed to be approximately 8,000 years old, Norwegian archaeologists say. If the dating is accurate, the Stone Age skeleton is a significant discovery, being the oldest ever found in the country.

News site The Local reports that the skeleton was located in Stokke, south of Oslo in the summer of 2014. Dubbed the “Brunstad man” after the prehistoric site where he was found, the skeleton was in fragile condition. It could only be excavated and examined in tiny fragments and only during the cold season, so as to avoid exposing the remains to heat. The pieces and the site were recorded painstakingly in order to create a 3-D computer model of the area.

Archeologists dig at Stokke following the discovery of a Stone Age grave containing a skeleton.

Archeologists dig at Stokke following the discovery of a Stone Age grave containing a skeleton. Credit: Museum of Cultural History in Oslo

Researchers used extreme caution in removing the skeleton. Both the remains and surrounding soil were divided into eight sections, and together they were transported to an Oslo archaeological laboratory.

The skeleton was found buried in typical Stone Age fashion, lying in the fetal position in a brick-lined pit.

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TheLocal writes that archaeologist Almut Schülke of the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo says of the skeletal find, “The discovery is sensational in Norwegian, and indeed even in a north European context.

“We do not know if Brunstad was a fixed settlement or whether it was a place people went to pick up special resources, such as different types of stone. We do not know of other major tombs nearby, but it was not uncommon to add a single grave so close to a settlement, as they have done here,” Schülke continues.

ScienceNordic lists Brunstad Man as Norway’s top archaeological find in 2014, and the skeleton comes after another extremely rare discovery at Stokke.

Archaeologists recovered an ancient skull believed to date back to 5900 B.C. at the same prehistoric site early last year. The skull was found to contain a grey, clay-like substance inside it, which is thought to be the preserved remains of the individual’s brain. If analyses confirm this to be the case, it will constitute one of the oldest brains ever found.

Norwegian archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull.

Norwegian archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull. Screen capture from NRK video .

According to Sarkoboros, Gaute Reitan, excavation director at The Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, says of the Brunstad finds, “It’s seldom enough that we get to dig in a camp from a portion of the Stone Age that we really don’t know much about. But the fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special. [It’s] the sort of thing archaeologists experience only once in their careers.”

Researchers await analysis on the Brunstad Man, and hope to learn the man’s age, his diet, and how much contact northern settlements engaged in at the time.

A video showcasing some of the Brunstad archaeological dig can be found at the Norweigan news site NRK .

Featured Image: The careful removal of Stone Age remains from excavation at Stokke. Credit: G. Reitan/Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo

By Liz Leafloor

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