Baltic Sea Reveals a 1-km Underwater Megastructure

Scientists have discovered an ancient stone wall submerged in the Baltic Sea that could be the oldest megastructure built by humans in Europe. The wall, named Blinkerwall, is estimated to be over 10,000 years old and may have been used for hunting reindeer.

How the wall was found in Baltic Sea

The wall was found by accident during a student trip off the coast of Germany in the Bay of Mecklenburg. Using a multibeam sonar system, the researchers detected a structure that stretched for nearly a kilometre along the seafloor. Upon closer inspection, they found that the wall was composed of about 1,400 smaller stones that connected nearly 300 larger boulders, some of which were too heavy for humans to move.

According to the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the total weight of the stones in the wall is more than 142 tonnes. The wall is mostly less than 1 metre high and is covered by 21 metres of water.

Why the wall was built

The researchers believe that the wall was built by hunter-gatherers on land next to a lake or marsh, before it was submerged by rising sea levels about 8,500 years ago. They speculate that the wall served as a driving lane for hunters to chase herds of reindeer into a bottleneck or into the water, where they could be easily killed with spears or bows and arrows.

The purpose of the wall is hard to prove, but the researchers rule out natural causes such as tsunamis or glacial movements as the origin of the structure. They also note that the angle of the wall changes direction when it meets the larger boulders, suggesting that the smaller stones were positioned intentionally to link them up.

What the wall reveals

The researchers say that the Blinkerwall is one of the oldest known examples of hunting architecture in the world and potentially the oldest man-made megastructure in Europe. They plan to return to the site to look for more evidence of the ancient landscape, animal bones and artefacts buried in the sediments around the wall.

The discovery of the Blinkerwall challenges our understanding of prehistoric community life and provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of our ancient ancestors.

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