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Swedish archaeologists celebrate ancient find

TT/The Local · 29 Nov 2009, 10:34

Published: 29 Nov 2009 10:34 GMT+01:00

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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."

Story continues below…

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.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:02 November 29, 2009 by Nemesis
This is a wonderful discovery.

This will help in writing a more accurate hisotry of Norrland, devoid of dogma or assumptions, but based in fact.
14:42 November 29, 2009 by Gletta
So what dogma and assumptions are there for this are Nemesis?
14:56 November 29, 2009 by RoyceD
Great find, I wonder what ethnicity of people lived there.
15:14 November 29, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Gletta

There has been dogma for years that people did not live that far north at that time, based on assumptions and no facts.

This find helps bury that dogma and changes it to a factual basis.
16:14 November 29, 2009 by Céitinn
How did they manage to live up there with all the ice and snow before evil humans invented global warming, sorry, climate change? After all until the industrial revolution Stockholm was uninhabitable because of the 50m of snow there...... oh, I am being sarcastic!
20:35 November 29, 2009 by archeologist

Nice discovery indeed.I'm hoping to see essential condition about this news.

And all sure antique knowledge will be clear after radiocarbon test.

21:04 November 29, 2009 by Nemesis
@ archeologist

Sensationella fynd gjordes i Tornedalen


PAJALA. Fynd vid utgrävningar i Kaunisvaara visar att det bodde människor där för 11 000 år sedan. Det är en arkeologisk sensation.

- Nu kan sidorna i Nationalencyklopedin om inlandsisen rivas ur och brännas, säger arkeologen Olof Östlund.

De sensationella fynden har gjorts under de arkeologiska utgrävningar som görs inför Northland Resources gruvetablering.

Det som arkeologerna påträffat är två boplatser. Fynden från dessa har analyserats och tidsbestämts enligt kol-14-metoden.

11 000 år gamla

Analysen visar att dessa boplatser är 11 000 år gamla. De är 1 000 år äldre än de boplatser som 2005 visades i Kangos och som då var en sensation.

- Kvartärgeologer jag pratat med i södra Sverige har inte varit medvetna om våra fynd, inte ens det i Kangos som är 10 000 år. Redan den påverkar hur kartorna för inlandsisens bortsmältning bör ritas, men det har inte riktigt gått ut, säger Olof Östlund.

Och när iskartorna ritas om leder det också till förändringar vad gäller landhöjningen och folkvandringen.

- Då kan man börja resonera kring invandringsvägar till norra sverige och norra Norge. Människorna kom inte söderifrån längs svenska kusten. De här fynden i Kaunisvaara gör det extra tydligt.

Visning av boplatserna

Olof Östlund vill inte närmare gå in på vilka konkreta fynd som gjorts på boplatserna. Norrbottens museum planerar att under kommande vecka hålla en presskonferens vid de 11 000 år gamla boplatserna i Kaunisvaara.

- Vi kommer då att visa boplatserna. Förhoppningsvis är det så lite snö att man kan se topografin som ledde fram till fynden, säger Olof Östlund.

Av Jan Bergsten jan.bergsten@nsd.se

0920-26 30 27

0920-26 30 27


03:26 November 30, 2009 by Davey-jo
We have no evidence how cold it was at that time. The last glacial age had ended 1,500 years earlier so it could have been as warm as now or not who knows? After all it was much colder last century than now.


Dogma is simply a lack of facts. Don't take it to heart.
07:03 November 30, 2009 by sweco1
Great find and such an earlier date.

So does use of earlier boating technology come into play here?

More excavations would be needed to see life style and food source of these travellers.
07:57 November 30, 2009 by Nemesis
@ sweco1

Most likely earlier boat use does come into play.

The problem is that in Sweden, due to the sheer amount of archeological sites, most archeologists are tied up excavating fesh buildings sites for construction.

Also underwater archeology in Sweden has been minimal until recently. However moves are afoot to increase the amount of underwater archeology in Sweden.

@ Davey-jo

It was not lack of facts. It was assumptions based on spurious idas, which thankfully are mostly dead in Sweden now.
07:15 December 1, 2009 by xykat
I love it when things like this are discovered in Sweden. We should look around for more history.
12:43 December 1, 2009 by karex
I love to hear about finds such as these. The thing is, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. There are probably LOTS of sites not discovered yet.
15:10 December 1, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Karex,

In Sweden the big problem is lack of resources.

The sheer number of archeological sites in Sweden make looking for new sites far down the list of priorities.

Most archeologists in Sweden are working on construction sites performing digs before buildings are constructed. Those sites are prioritised.

In the North of Sweden there has been a long held belief that originated mostly in the 1800's that nothing was ever there. It is only in the last 30 years that dogma has been seriously challenged.

Virtually every part of the coast from sudiksval northwards has some sort of archeology if you look for it. It is the same along the major rivers in the area. Cataloging it all will be a very expensive business which will take decades.
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