University of Helsinki researchers studying a group of lakes in Finland say they’ve found a Stone Age settlement in Lake Kuolimojarvi that gives clues to how humans lived in the area in the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Stone Age, ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Examining objects found at the bottom of the lake, the researchers zeroed in on implements used to shape stone tools in an underwater hearth.
“The hearth included remnants of charcoal, as well as burnt sand and stone, which leads us to believe that early humans were active in this area many years ago,” said University of Helsinki postdoctoral archaeology researcher Satu Koivisto, who led the expedition, in an interview with YLE Uutiset.
“Koivisto said a stove structure found about a meter below the water’s surface cannot be from any other time than 9,000 to 8,000 years ago–before the water level rose,” the article continued. Koivistio also said, “A lot of our inland lakes such as Vanajevesi, Pielinen, and Lake Oulu have experienced similar surface variation. That is why there are great expanses of largely untapped underwater archaeological resources in Finnish lakes where very old organic material may have survived for thousands of years.”
When the water levels rose, areas that existed on dry land were buried at the bottom of lakes.
Underwater archaeologists took soil samples of the burned layer around the hearth and are now studying it.
These findings may change the timeline of when early humans lived in Finland.
The researchers say they believe there could have been human habitation in this area for thousands of years before the time of the lake settlement, as is shown by traces dated to more than 10,000 years old discovered at Kuurmanpohja in Joutseno, farther to the south.