Today, a team of archaeologists have discovered the 5,000-year old footprints of two fishermen walking in the waters off the Danish island of Lolland. To be more precise, the footprints were discovered by archaeologists working on the Femern Belt, which will eventually connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland.
“These prints show the population attempted to save parts of their fishing system before it was flooded and covered in sand,” Anne-Lotte Sjørup Mathiesen of the Museum Lolland-Falster, said. Stone Age fishing gear was also found among the footprints, and that’s why archaeologists involved in the finding assume that the people were likely trying to save their fishing system (which was used to feed the community) before the sea flooded it.
What seems to have happened was that at some point they were moving out to the [fish fence], perhaps to recover it before a storm,” Lars Ewald Jensen, the museum’s project manager, told Live Science. “At one of the posts, there are footprints on each side of the post, where someone had been trying to remove it from the sea bottom.”
The museum said that this marks the first time that archaeologists have found ancient human footprints in Denmark. Excavation for the Fixed Link is still ongoing, so archaeologists hope they might find more clues about the Stone Age fisherman and maybe even more footprints. The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link will connect the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn. That project is expected to be completed in 2021 and will be the largest immersed tunnel in the world when finished.
For more than a year, archaeologists have been racing against the clock to collect artifacts and other historical objects from Denmark’s past before they disappear forever, because in the next year or so, construction is slated to begin on the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. The tunnel will be built with several above-ground facilities that will cover up dried fjords, including the one where the footprints and fishing equipment were found, according to Lars Ewald Jensen, the Museum Lolland-Falster’s project manager for the Fehmarn Link project.
Apart from the human tracks, the team uncovered several skulls belonging to domestic and wild animals on the beach near the fjord. The researchers said the skulls were likely part of offerings made by local farmers, who inhabited the region from around 4,000 B.C.
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