Scientists say the huge Stone Age structures found submerged in the Baltic Sea were not formed by nature.
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A massive structure found in the Baltic Sea may represent one of the oldest known hunting structures used in the Stone Age, and could change what is known about the way hunter-gatherers lived around 11,000 years ago.
Researchers and students from Kiel University in Germany found for the first time a stunning row of stones located about 69 feet (21 meters) underwater during a marine geophysical survey along the seafloor in Mecklenburg Bay, about 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) off the coast of… Germany. Rerick, Germany.
The discovery, made in the fall of 2021 while aboard the research vessel RV Alkor, revealed a wall made of 1,670 stones extending more than half a mile (one kilometer). The stones, which connected several large boulders, were lined up almost perfectly, making it unlikely that nature formed the structure.
After researchers alerted the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State Office for Culture and Monument Conservation to their discovery, an investigation began to determine what the structure was and how it ended up at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Diving teams and an autonomous underwater vehicle were used to study the site.
The team determined that the wall was likely built by Stone Age communities to hunt reindeer more than 10,000 years ago.
A study describing the structure was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Our investigations indicate that the natural origin of the underwater stone wall as well as modern-day construction, for example in connection with laying submarine cables or harvesting stones, are not very likely,” said lead study author Dr. Jakob Jersen, chief scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. In Germany, in a statement: “The systematic arrangement of many small stones connecting large immobile rocks contradicts this.”
Go back in time
The wall was likely built more than 10,000 years ago along the shore of a lake or swamp, according to the study. Rocks were abundant in the area at the time, left behind by glaciers that moved across the landscape.
But studying and dating submerged structures is very difficult, so the research team had to analyze how the area evolved to determine the approximate age of the wall. They collected sediment samples, created a 3D model of the wall, and reconstructed the landscape where it was originally built.
Sea levels rose significantly after the end of the last ice age about 8,500 years ago, which would have submerged the wall and large parts of the landscape, according to the study authors.
But things were different nearly 11,000 years ago.
“At this time, the population across northern Europe was likely less than 5,000 people. It was one of The main food sources are reindeer herds, which migrate seasonally across the sparsely vegetated landscape in the post-glacial period. “The Stone Age killed them more easily with their weapons.”
Bradtmüller said hunters used spears, bows and arrows to catch their prey.
A secondary structure may have been used to create the bottleneck, but the research team has found no evidence of that so far, Jersen said. However, it is likely that hunters directed the reindeer into the lake because the animals swam slowly.
The hunter-gatherer community seemed to realize that the deer would follow the path created by the wall, the researchers said.
“The animals seem to be attracted to such linear structures, and they would rather follow the structure than try to cross it, even if it is only 0.5 meters high,” Jersen said.
Bradtmüller said this discovery changes the way researchers think about highly mobile groups such as hunter-gatherer societies. Building a massive permanent structure like the Wall meant that these regional groups may have been more site- and territorially focused than previously thought, he said.
Fishing locations around the world
This discovery represents the first Stone Age fishing structure in the Baltic Sea region. But other similar prehistoric hunting structures have been found elsewhere around the world, including the United States and Greenland, as well as Saudi Arabia and JordanWhere researchers discovered traps known as “desert kites.”
The stone walls and hunting blinds were built to hunt caribou It was previously found at the bottom of Lake Huron in Michigan and was discovered at a depth of 98 feet (30 m). The construction and location of the Lake Huron wall, which includes a lake shore on one side, is very similar to the Baltic Sea wall, the study authors said.
Meanwhile, scientists are continuing their research in the Baltic Sea using sonar and sounding devices, as well as planning future dives to search for archaeological finds. Only by combining the expertise of workers in fields such as marine geology, geophysics and archaeology, do such discoveries become possible, Jersen said.
He said understanding the location of lost structures and artifacts on the seabed is key as demand for marine areas increases due to tourism, fishing, and the construction of pipelines and wind farms. Other undiscovered treasures at the bottom of the Baltic Sea could shed more light on ancient hunter-gatherer societies.
“We have evidence of similar stone walls at other sites in (Mecklenburg Bay).” “These will also be investigated systematically,” Dr. Jens Schneider von Demling, study co-author and researcher in the Marine Geophysics and Hydroacoustics Group at Kiel University, said in a statement.
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(Tags for translation) Baltic Sea