Archeologists in Denmark have discovered two sets of footprints on the island of Lolland. They date back to 5,000 years and could belong to two fishermen in that area five thousand years back. The proximity of the footprints to the fishing fence gives rise to the theory that the two men walking on the beach could have been fishermen. These footprints might be able to shed some light about the life of people on the Danish coast during the Stone Age and how the people of that age grappled with the destructive forces of the sea.
Terje Stafseth, an archaeologist who took part in the footprint excavation, said, “This is really quite extraordinary, finding footprints from humans.”
“Normally, what we find is their rubbish in the form of tools and pottery, but here, we suddenly have a completely different type of traces from the past, footprints left by a human being.”
“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, project manager for the Museum Lolland-Falster, 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.”
“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 to Discovery News.
These footprints were discovered by a team of archaeologists working on the Femern Belt, which will connect the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn.
Fishing gear belonging to that era was also found along with the footprints, as if to suggest that the people were likely trying to save their fishing system before being inundated.
“What has been found shows that at least two people tried to salvage what they could from the traps used for fishing.”
“Studies have shown that Stone Age people repeatedly repaired and actually moved parts of the trap to make sure that it always worked and was optimally positioned in relation to the coast and the current. We can follow the footsteps and sense the importance of the trap, which was essential for the coastal populations’ survival,” Terje Stafseth said.
The size of the footprints also suggests that they came from two different people- one of them appears to be a man’s foot (size 9) while the other is a much smaller woman’s foot (size 5 ½).
“Here we have direct imprints from ancient people’s activities, which can be associated with a concrete event – a storm destroying the fixed gillnet on stakes. In order to secure the survival of the population, the fishing system had to be repaired,” Sjørup Mathiesen said to Discovery News.
Archaeologists studying these footprints and other gear found along with it hope to get more clues about the fishing community from the area after a better and thorough study. This is the first instance of footprints belonging to the Stone Age being discovered in the area. The site where they have been found will soon have to be abandoned as work on underwater tunnel connecting the two islands begins.