Scientists and researchers have discovered an ancient Stone Age settlement off the coast of southern Sweden that has been completely submerged, yet largely well preserved.

They believe this is a site where humans lived for part of the year to do most of their fishing.

About 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, it is believed people inhabited the land when the water receded enough to allow them to do so. At that time, the Baltic sea was likely 10-12 meters lower than it is today, allowing people to live there at least part of the year.

During this discovery, they also found a 9,000 year old pick-axe made of elk antler, which suggests a more permanent habitation by human beings. It also contained markings, but the researchers are unsure of their significance.

Anton Hansson, a PhD geology student, says of the find:

“It’s been cut out from a moose horn and it’s been polished. We are not really sure how it’s used, as it’s the only one we have found. There’s been finds of stone axes looking similar which people think were replicas of this horn.”

Interestingly, the pick-axe was found in what they believe was the settlement’s garbage section. There was a crack in it, which means that it was likely tossed away when it was no longer useful.

Fishermen have long suspected there was something in the area, as many often got their nets stuck on “stumps.” However, it wasn’t until recently that the area was fully explored with multibeam echosounder technology, a type of sonar system, and the area has been completely mapped out for the very first time.

Hansson says the site would have been fairly warm, and perhaps warmer than it is today. Due to the abundance of fish, it would have been an excellent place for these early humans to settle.

On whether or not these amazing finds will be placed in a museum any time soon, Hansson says:

“We don’t have any money or logistics to get them up. So they are still there. Most of what we find stays there because we don’t have the funds or possibility to take them out.”

However, these finds still give us amazing clues to our past and human’s migration out of Africa.



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