An ancient hunting wall was discovered under the Baltic Sea.
Philipp Hoy, University of Rostock
A Stone Age hunting wall was discovered in Europe’s Baltic Sea.It is made up of several large rocks linked together by more than 1,500 smaller stones. The wall was estimated to have been built more than 8,500 years ago to hunt reindeer.
A Stone Age wall discovered in the Baltic Sea may be the oldest man-made megastructure in Europe.
The strange, kilometer-long wall is thought to have been built more than 8,500 years ago to channel reindeer into different areas by hunter-gatherers.
The wall — referred to as the Blinkerwall by researchers — was discovered by chance in September 2021 by students on a training exercise with the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde in Germany.
It’s less than a meter high and consists of several large rocks linked together by more than 1,500 smaller stones. The stones are aligned “so regularly that a natural origin seems unlikely,” researchers said.
The students used a multibeam sonar to map the seafloor off the coast of Germany near to the town of Rerik.
“Afterwards, in the lab, we realized that there was this structure that looks not natural,” geophysicist Jacob Geersen at the Leibniz Institute told New Scientist.
“It was only when we contacted the archaeologists that we understood it could be something significant.”
The Blinkerwall was discovered 21 meters under the sea, which means it was likely to have been built before the last Ice Age ended around 8,500 years ago as the sea level rose “significantly” during this period, the article said.
Marlize Lombard, a professor and researcher of Stone Age Archaeology at the University of Johannesburg, told New Scientist that hunting walls were traditionally used to catch herds of animals such as antelope, who are more likely to run parallel to obstacles rather than jump over them.
Researchers believe this particular hunting wall was used to catch reindeer, which used the region as a habitat 11,000 years ago, according to the article.
The discovery is important because it could improve our knowledge of early hunter-gatherer communities, and how they survived. It could also allow scientists to find other Stone Age walls submerged by water.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Monday.