Divers found the oldest known fixed fish traps in northern Europe off the coast of southern Sweden six years ago. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have been working hard since then, uncovering a Stone Age site that is exceptionally well preserved. They have now concluded that the site was a lagoon environment where Mesolithic humans lived during parts of the year.
Anton Hansson, PhD student in Quaternary geology at Lund University explained that as geologists, they wanted to recreate the area and understand how it looked. One spectacular find made at the site is a pickaxe made out of elk antlers that is 9,000 years old. The find indicates that this was a semi-permanent settlement as mass fishing was likely done.
The findings were preserved deep below the surface of Hanö Bay in the Baltic Sea due to changes in the sea level. The team has drilled into the seabed and the core extracted was radiocarbon dated. They have also examined diatoms and pollen, and have revealed depth variations by producing a bathymetrical map.
Hansson explains that although these sites have been known before, it was only through scattered finds. The technology for more detailed interpretations of the landscape has only recently become available.
In order to understand how humans dispersed from Africa fully, all their settlements have to be found. Humans have always preferred coastal sites, and as the sea level is higher today than during the last glaciation, numerous of these settlements are now under water.