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5,500-year-old complete hand axe unearthed in prehistoric seabed in Denmark

5,500-year-old complete hand axe unearthed in prehistoric seabed in Denmark



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Archaeologists from the Museum Lolland-Falster in Denmark made an extremely rare discovery when they unearthed a complete hand axe with handle still attached in what was once a seabed in prehistoric times. The 5,500-year-old artifact was found in what has been described as a ‘ritual hot bed’, in which a series of tools and other artifacts had been purposely placed vertically in the earth.

Excavations just east of Rødbyhavn have been underway ahead of the construction of the Femern Belt Fixed Link, an 18km tunnel between Scandinavia and Germany. The dig site has already yielded some incredible finds, including 5,000-year-old footprints, which were found in close proximity to river barriers for fishing. Archaeologists believe the prints were left by fishermen who waded out into the silted seabed to tend to the barriers.

Stone Age footprints discovered near Rødbyhavn in Denmark. Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster.

Archaeologists also found an oar, two bows, and fourteen axe shafts, but were stunned to come across a complete narrow-necked flint axe in almost perfect condition. The artifacts had been preserved as a result of the unique conditions of the silted seabed, enabling even organic material to remain intact.

”To find such a well-preserved shafted axe is incredible,” Søren Anker Sørensen, an archaeologist with Museum Lolland-Falster, said in a press release made by the Museum Lolland-Falster.

The archaeological team believe that the dig area must have had a ritual significance because the axe and other items had been intentionally placed into the earth standing up vertically. Evidence of burial customs and sacrificial rituals during the Neolithic period are not uncommon in areas of marshes and wetlands in Scandinavia.

Excavations are continuing and researchers expect to find many more artifacts that they hope will shed more light on the ritual practices conducted by the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia.

A video (in Danish) showing archaeologists working on the dig site, and featuring the discovery of the ancient footprints can be viewed below:

Featured image: The newly-discovered complete hand axe. Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster


    Archaeologists from the Museum Lolland-Falster in Denmark made an extremely rare discovery when they unearthed a complete hand axe with handle still attached in what was once a seabed in prehistoric times. The 5,500-year-old artifact was found in what has been described as a ‘ritual hot bed’, in which a series of tools and other artifacts had been purposely placed vertically in the earth.

    Excavations just east of Rødbyhavn have been underway ahead of the construction of the Femern Belt Fixed Link, an 18km tunnel between Scandinavia and Germany. The dig site has already yielded some incredible finds, including 5,000-year-old footprints, which were found in close proximity to river barriers for fishing. Archaeologists believe the prints were left by fishermen who waded out into the silted seabed to tend to the barriers.

    Stone Age footprints discovered near Rødbyhavn in Denmark. Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster.

    Archaeologists also found an oar, two bows, and fourteen axe shafts, but were stunned to come across a complete narrow-necked flint axe in almost perfect condition. The artifacts had been preserved as a result of the unique conditions of the silted seabed, enabling even organic material to remain intact.

    ”To find such a well-preserved shafted axe is incredible,” Søren Anker Sørensen, an archaeologist with Museum Lolland-Falster, said in a press release made by the Museum Lolland-Falster.

    The archaeological team believe that the dig area must have had a ritual significance because the axe and other items had been intentionally placed into the earth standing up vertically. Evidence of burial customs and sacrificial rituals during the Neolithic period are not uncommon in areas of marshes and wetlands in Scandinavia.

    Excavations are continuing and researchers expect to find many more artifacts that they hope will shed more light on the ritual practices conducted by the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia.

    A video (in Danish) showing archaeologists working on the dig site, and featuring the discovery of the ancient footprints can be viewed below:

    Featured image: The newly-discovered complete hand axe. Credit: Museum Lolland-Falster


    Mysterious 7,000-year-old stone structures may be part of prehistoric cattle cult

    These mysterious rectangular structures can be found all over northwestern Arabia and date back over 7,000 years, centuries before Stonehenge. According to archaeologists, they may have been part of a prehistoric cattle cult.

    In Saudi Arabia, more than 1,000 of these systems, known as mustatils (Arabic for “rectangle”), have been registered. They are usually rectangular in shape and mostly consist of two platforms joined by two walls, though their appearance varies.

    Archaeological evidence suggests that some Mustatils had a central chamber with stone walls enclosing an open space with a monolith in the middle.

    The new evidence supports a hypothesis suggested by other scholars on why they were built: they had a ritualistic function and were part of a cattle cult, according to the new evidence.

    In a tweet, Melissa Kennedy, assistant director of the Air Archeology project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ( AAKSA), said, “The mustatils of northwestern Arabia constitute the first large-scale ceremonial ceremonial landscape anywhere in the world, predating Stonehenge by over 2,500 years.”

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    “With recent excavations finding the first evidence of a cattle cult in the Arabian Peninsula, these buildings can now be viewed as ceremonial facilities dating back to the late 6th millennium BC,” the team of researchers wrote in an article published today. Antiquity magazine published an article on April 30.

    These monuments are more architecturally complex than commonly thought, with chambers, exits, and orthostats, according to the team’s report (vertical stone slabs).

    Arabian excavations

    Some of the mustatils have been stolen or destroyed, but the team was able to unearth one that had not been tampered with in 2019. They discovered a considerable number of cattle bones and horns, as well as sheep, horse, and gazelle remains.

    These remains were discovered in the middle of a stone-walled chamber, next to a huge vertical stone, leading the team to conclude that they were “offerings” of people who took part in ceremonial rituals related to a livestock cult this cult may have been devoted to deities or spiritual powers affiliated with animals.

    The writers are unaware of the views of the cattle cult members because writing has not yet been invented.

    It’s possible that a procession led people to the chamber. ‘The construction of these Mustatils indicates that they were used in a procession.’ According to the squad, the buildings were entered in a single row because of their narrow entrances.

    Archaeologists have discovered rock art from the same time period in the region, which reinforces the theory that mustatils were used as part of a cattle cult. They noted that the rock art depicts “scenes of both herding and hunting.”

    The buildings are so large and conspicuous in the landscape that they seem to have a ceremonial purpose. Furthermore, the buildings’ long walls are no more than 1.6 feet (0.5 meters), indicating that they may not have used as livestock pens.

    Environmental indicators

    The finding of cow bones and horns in the Mustatils leads to evidence that the region’s climate was wetter 7,000 years ago than it is now.

    “We know from paleoclimatological data gathered in the Arabian Peninsula that the climate was much more humid during this time,” Kennedy said. “Because cattle need a lot of water to survive, we’re learning more about the late Neolithic in this part of the peninsula by discovering these remarkably well preserved cattle horns on the mustatil.

    More enigmas

    There are also a lot of unanswered questions about Mustatils. Why, for example, were any mustatils constructed on volcanoes’ slopes?

    “We’re not sure why they were constructed on volcanoes,” project manager Hugh Thomas admitted. “Perhaps some of these structures were used as landscape markers or perhaps tribal markers denoting grazing areas for particular communities by being placed on prominent landscape features such as volcanoes.”

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    “What’s fascinating is that some Mustatils are very visible, while others are almost invisible. He went on to say, “There seems to be absolutely no continuity in the venue, which is quite strange.”

    The team intends to continue excavating and studying the sites of Geographic Information Systems in the future (GIS).


    Concha by Elena Reygadas of Rosetta, Mexico City

    Makes 4 conchas
    For the vanilla crust:
    10 g all-purpose (plain) flour
    10 g vegetable shortening
    5 g sugar glass
    5 g sugar
    0.5 g baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    Seeds from 1⁄2 vanilla bean

    For the conchas:
    4 g fresh yeast
    15 g whole milk
    180 g wheat flour
    25 g sugar
    1 g fine sea salt
    45 g eggs
    40 g butter
    Egg wash

    In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and beat with an electric mixer at a low speed until well blended. Don’t overmix. Once the mixture is uniform, let stand at room temperature while you make the conchas.

    Dissolve the yeast in the milk. In a large bowl, combine the flour, dissolved yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, and butter and mix with your hands, making small circles. Once everything has blended together, knead the dough, lightly striking it against the surface until it becomes smooth and elastic.

    Place the dough in a covered container and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each into a ball.

    Divide the vanilla crust into 4 portions they should be about 20 g. Form each portion into a ball and then use your palm to flatten it into a disk large enough to cover one of the dough balls.

    Glaze each ball of dough with egg and cover with a disk of vanilla crust. Press a shell-pattern mold into the crust or make the traditional pattern with a knife. Dip each concha in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Cover the conchas with a lightly floured cloth and let sit at room temperature for 11⁄2–2 hours, preferably in a humid environment between 70–75°F (20–25°C). Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

    Bake the conchas for 18 minutes.

    Photograph courtesy Ana Lorenzana

    Extracted from Today’s Special, 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs, published by Phaidon


    Watch the video: 5000 year old footprint found in Denmark (August 2022).

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