05 June 2012

A mesolithic fish trap (9000 years old)

I was impressed, because I was expecting remnants of stone fishing weirs, but this is much more interesting:
Divers Arne Sjöström, Beesham Soogrim and Krister Kam Tayanin inspecting a 8000-9000 years old fish trap in the detritus mud (trap no 2). The trap has been exposed due to wave actions and erosion by sand and stones. The exposed part of the trap is c. 0,5 x 4 meters. It is made of long hazel (Corylus avellana) sticks. A similar trap in the area has been radiocarbon dated by Jan Öijeberg (Malmö Museum) to c. 9000 years before present (calibrated) (fish trap no 1) . There are no visible signs of bindings between the sticks but any strings should have been eroded away at the exposed part of the trap. It was used for fishing in the damed Verke river valley during the mesolithic, before the area was flooded by the sea.
Recently exposed by wave action, just as wooden implements are being exposed by melting glaciers - and probably ephemeral once wood-boring worms find it.  Very cool find.

The video could benefit from tighter editing; suggest skip to 1:05 to begin.


  1. "...fishing in the damed Verke river valley..."
    Merriam-Webster says the spelling is "dammed," from the verb "to dam." Looking at "damed," my mind wonders what the verbing of "dame" might mean. :-)

    1. Yes, it's clearly a typo, but your comment got me wondering who dammed a river in the Mesolithic period. I found another video by the same researchers, examining a sunken forest on the Verke river valley, with this comment:
      "In the film you can mainly see the thick layers of detritus mud that was deposited over the pine forest in the old river valley. When the sea level of the Baltic Sea rose, after the ice age, the river mouth was blocked and large lagoons were formed behind the sea shore line. After some time the river lake sediments was also drowned by the sea. During the transgression of the sea the huge sand dunes, that formed the valley slopes, was eroded and the mud banks were formed in the way we see them today."

      So apparently it was "dammed" by the rising of the sea levels, not by human activity. Actually, I'll bet "damming" is too literal a term - probably they mean the flow was decreased by the higher water levels at sea level. Whatever.


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