Europe

World's 'oldest fish trap' found off coast of Sweden

  • 5 June 2012
  • From the section Europe
Herrings (generic image)
Catching fish is a practice that goes back thousands of years

Wooden fish traps said to be some 9,000 years old have been found in the Baltic Sea off Sweden, possibly the oldest such traps in existence.

Marine archaeologists from Stockholm's Sodertorn University found finger-thick hazel rods grouped on the sea bed.

They are thought to be the remains of stationary basket traps.

"This is the world's oldest find when it comes to fishing," said Johan Ronnby, a professor in marine archaeology.

Arne Sjostrom, a fellow archaeologist who worked on the Sodertorn project, said the sticks seemed to have been used as a "sort of fence to lead the fish into a creel or they were part of the actual creel".

The remains of seven basket traps were found in a submerged ancient river valley off Sweden's southern coast at a depth of 5-12m (16.5-40ft), Mr Sjostrom said.

Many examples of similar traps had been found in other parts of the world, he added.

Only one of the baskets has been carbon-dated and is estimated to be around 9,000 years old, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The 8th Millennium BC is believed to be the period when Stone Age man developed agriculture and built what were to become the world's first cities.

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