‘A Gift Package’: Low Water Levels in Norway Unearth 7,000-Year-Old Fish Traps

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'A Gift Package': Low Water Levels in Norway Unearth 7,000-Year-Old Fish Traps
'A Gift Package': Low Water Levels in Norway Unearth 7,000-Year-Old Fish Traps

Africa-Press – Cape verde. A fishing set-up dating back to the Old Stone Age appears to be the oldest of its kind not only in Norway, but in Northern Europe in general, adding valuable details to the Paleolithic environment. An ancient fishing facility dating back thousands of years have been discovered in Norway due to low water levels.

Numerous poles rising from the water and forming traps were discovered at the mountain Lake Tesse in Lom in Innlandet County in central Norway by mountaineer and hobby archeologist Reidar Marstein. By his own admission, he noted a pattern in their formation.

According to the Cultural History Museum at the University of Oslo, one of the logs was subsequently dated to be around 7,000 years old. Therefore, the fishing set-up dates back to around 5,000 BC in the Old Stone Age and is oldest of its kind not only in Norway, but in Northern Europe as such.

The new find allows one to see the contours of an extensive and very old fishery located in a Paleolithic environment that will be studied further, Mjærum said. Earlier, in 2013 and 2014, traces of extensive Stone Age activity were found along the banks of Lake Tesse, including net sinkers.

So far, at least three trapping chambers with guiding fences and funnel-shaped inlets have been identified on the seabed. While today Lake Tesse is a regulated environment, in the olden days the traps were likely placed in shallow waters. The locals could have used simple boats or simply waded out. Every spring, Lake Tesse is drained to produce power, which subsequently reveals the old sea bed.

“This fishing ground has been in use used for thousands of years. When you started to regulate water levels, everything possible started to emerge,” Mjærum noted.

Divers from the Norwegian Maritime Museum visited the lake to retrieve dating samples and secure the unique cultural heritage against erosion and ice over the winter. Next year, when the ice has melted, archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History embark on excavation.

“It is so valuable that we cannot take the chance of waiting,” Mjærum concluded.

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