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Ancient tsunami wiped out prehistoric communities in Northern England

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A study by the University of York has revealed that a tsunami wiped out prehistoric communities living in Northumberland, England, causing wide-scale depopulation across the region.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Quarternary Science, a huge tsunami with 20 metre tall waves hit Britain’s coastline and parts of Europe during the Mesolithic period around 8,000-years-ago.

The tsunami was likely caused by a large submarine landslide known as the Storegga slide, displacing 2400–3200 km3 of sediment off the coast of Western Norway. Traces of sediment deposits attributed to the event have been found in Northern England, Western Scotland, Shetland, Denmark, and as far as Eastern Greenland.

Dr Jon Hill, an environmental scientist at the University of York, said: “A giant tsunami of this size would have devastated Stone Age coastal communities as it occurred in the autumn when they would have been gathering resources for the winter. The scale of the waves coming in would have been completely different to anything experienced by the people living there – a truly terrifying experience.”

Archaeological evidence indicates a drop in settlement density across NW Europe during this period, which the study suggests was the result of the tsunami and not the previously held narrative of a rapid temperature drop across the continent.

Dr Hill added: “Some past fishing societies in tsunami-prone regions such as the northern Pacific have shown some resilience to tsunamis and knew about moving to higher ground. But, the tsunami event in northern Britain was more of a freak event, with Stone Age people here having no living memory or ancestral knowledge about how to make themselves safe.”

Computer simulations of the tsunami event were also created to determine whether the high waves could have contributed to population declines. Based on the simulation, researchers suspect there could have been significant mortality due to the tsunami as well as indirect impacts caused by damage to key resources that the ancient people needed to survive.

Dr Hill said: “Alongside the direct mortality from the waves, this tsunami created longer-term impacts on resources for Stone Age people. It would have decimated food supplies so there’s a strong possibility this contributed to the sharp population decline we saw in northern Britain at this time, although this period also saw a rapid sea-level rise and a sharp drop in global temperatures.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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