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Swedish archaeologists celebrate ancient find

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10:34 CET+01:00
People lived in the Torne River Valley on the border with Sweden and Finland some 11,000 years ago, an important new archaeological find has shown.

The settlement, found near Pajala in the far north of Sweden, are the oldest known find in the county of Norrbotten, according to the archaeologist Olof Östlund.

The find was uncovered when archaeologists were searching for ancient remains in the area around Kaunisvaar near Pajala where a new mine is set to open, according to a report in local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten.

"Now the pages in the National Encyclopaedia regarding inland ice can be torn out and burned," Östlund told the newspaper.

The archaeologists located the settlements in the beginning of September and they have now been dated with the help of radiocarbon dating.

"I had been expecting old dates. But when I saw that the first numbers were very high I felt immediately that this was bingo. When the second number was five figures - I felt faint," Östlund explained to news agency TT.

He was surprised that the find was so old and compared it to another settlement located nearby in Kangofors five years ago. That settlement had been used 10,000 years ago.

The survey was conducted on commission from a company prospecting for mines in the vicinity of Pajala and will shed light on the first inhabitants of Norrbotten.

"So this is important. Especially as in archaological circles, in southern Sweden, the accepted theory is that there was no ancient age up here in northern Sweden it is thus important to raise the issue."

Östlund compared the new discovery to the find in Voullerim in the middle of the 1980s of 6,000 year-old stone age shelters. Then the assumptions regarding the history of the pre-history of Norrland were revalued to take into account that people had actually lived there.

Archaeologists were also then given new types of remains to look for - and several finds were then later uncovered.

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