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The recently discovered wall from the Stone Age at the bottom of the Baltic Sea could potentially be the oldest megastructure in Europe.
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The recently discovered wall from the Stone Age at the bottom of the Baltic Sea could potentially be the oldest megastructure in Europe.

Researchers have found a wall from the Stone Age under the sea off the coast of Germany’s Baltic region, potentially making it the oldest man-made megastructure in Europe.

While conducting a student trip about 10km offshore, researchers unexpectedly discovered a wall that spans almost a kilometre along the seafloor in the Bay of Mecklenburg. This was observed while operating a multibeam sonar system from a research vessel.

Upon further examination of the Blinkerwall structure, it was discovered that there are approximately 1,400 smaller stones that were strategically placed to connect nearly 300 larger boulders. Many of these boulders were too heavy to be moved by groups of humans.

The recently found submerged wall is being hailed as an exciting find. It is currently submerged under 21 meters of water, but experts speculate that it was built by ancient hunter-gatherers on land near a lake or marsh over 10,000 years ago.

Although the exact purpose of the wall is difficult to confirm, experts believe it may have functioned as a pathway for hunters to chase after groups of reindeer.

Jacob Geersen, a researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde, Germany, stated that when animals are pursued, they tend to follow certain structures instead of trying to jump over them.

The concept is to construct a man-made restriction using either a second barrier or the edge of the lake,” he stated.

The scientists state in their publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that there may be another wall parallel to the Blinkerwall, which could potentially be hidden in the sediment of the seafloor.

The animals may have been pushed into the nearby lake by the wall, making them slower and vulnerable to humans in canoes with weapons.

Geersen and his team have concluded that the 971 meter-long wall’s size and shape make it improbable for it to have been created by natural means, such as a massive tsunami or a glacier depositing the stones in their current location.

The wall’s angle, typically under 1 meter in height, shifts when it encounters larger boulders, indicating that the smaller stones were deliberately placed to connect them. Overall, it is estimated that the stones in the wall weigh over 142 tonnes.

If the wall was a prehistoric hunting path, it was most likely constructed over 10,000 years ago and later submerged due to rising sea levels around 8,500 years ago.

According to the researchers, this discovery places the Blinkerwall in the category of the oldest known forms of hunting architecture globally and could potentially deem it the oldest human-made megastructure in Europe.

Geersen is interested in returning to the site to rebuild the historic terrain and look for animal remains and human objects, like weapons used for hunting, that may be buried in the sediment near the wall.

Source: theguardian.com