Stone age wall at bottom of sea might be 'Europe's oldest megastructure'

A 3D model shows a short section of the stonewall as it currently appears under the Baltic Sea. Credit: CNN via University of Rostock

A huge stone wall found beneath the waves off Germany's Baltic coast could be the oldest known megastructure built by humans in Europe, new research says.

Stretching almost a kilometre along the sea floor in the Bay of Mecklenburg, it is thought to be around 11,000 years old.

It was discovered by accident in 2021 when scientists operated a multibeam sonar system on a student trip about 10km offshore.

Made up of around 1670 stones, they are connected by large boulders, almost perfectly aligned and unlikely to have been shaped by nature.

While the purpose of the wall is difficult to prove, scientists believe it will have served as a driving lane for hunters in pursuit of reindeer.

If the "Blinkerwall" was constructed around 11,000 years ago, it was likely swallowed by rising sea levels about 8,500 years ago.

“At this time, the entire population across northern Europe was likely below 5,000 people. One of their main food sources were herds of reindeer, which migrated seasonally through the sparsely vegetated post-glacial landscape,” said study coauthor Dr. Marcel Bradtmöller, research assistant in prehistory and early history at the University of Rostock in Germany.

“The wall was probably used to guide the reindeer into a bottleneck between the adjacent lakeshore and the wall, or even into the lake, where the Stone Age hunters could kill them more easily with their weapons.”

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