5,000 years ago, two fishermen were walking in the waters off the Danish island of Lolland. Today, a team of archaeologists have discovered their footprints.

The discovery marks a first in Denmark and could provide insights into the life of the coastal people during the Stone Age.


The footprints (pictured above) were discovered during an excavation on Lolland by archaeologists from the Museum Lolland-Falster.

Terje Stafseth, an archaeologist who took part in the footprint excavation, said, “This is really quite extraordinary, finding footprints from humans.”

“Normally, what we find is their rubbish in the form of tools and pottery, but here, we suddenly have a completely different type of traces from the past, footprints left by a human being.”

Archaeologists believe the footprints belonged to a pair of fishermen due to their proximity to a fishing fence.

“What seems to have happened was that at some point they were moving out to the fish fence, perhaps to recover it before a storm,” Lars Ewald Jensen, project manager for the Museum Lolland-Falster, told Live Science. “At one of the posts, there are footprints on each side of the post, where someone had been trying to remove it from the sea bottom.”

As the pair went to retrieve their fishing trap, the seabed recorded their steps.

How were archaeologists able to excavate the seabed? While the area was used back in the Stone Age for fishing, it is dry today. A dyke was constructed years ago to protect the island from flooding. This dyke dried up the inlet used by the fishermen thousands of years ago.

Archaeologists have also discovered various skulls from wild and domestic animals. Those discoveries are typical for this type of excavation and have been overshadowed by the first Stone Age footprints discovered in Denmark.

Work will continue at the excavation site for a while. But eventually, the archaeologists will have to abandon the site as construction begins on an underwater tunnel.

Image credits: Museum Lolland-Falster

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