Science News

5000-Year-Old Human Footprints Discovered In Denmark

Archaeologists have found 5,000-year-old human footprints in southern Denmark that show how Stone Age people attempted to cope with the destruction of the sea.

The prints were found during work for the Femern Belt link scheme, a tunnel project that will connect the Danish island Lolland with the German island Fehmarn. The area has been under constant influence by water for thousands of years, Discovery News reported.

The prints were found in a dried fjord with fixed gillnets on stakes, or fishing fences, which are evidence of a Stone Age fishing system. According to archeologists, the prints suggest at least two people walked into the swampy seabed to save what they could, eventually setting up the fence farther away. This tool dates back to about 3,000 B.C., Fox News reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Anne-Lotte Sjorup Mathiesen” author_title=”Museum Lolland-Falster”]

These prints showed the population attempted to save parts of their fishing system before it was flooded and covered in sand.


The footprints correspond to a size 5.5 in women’s shoes and a size 9 in men’s shoes.

While fishing fences have been found before, the footprints are the first of their kind found in Denmark. The footprints date to 5,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C., at a time when the water level of the Baltic Sea was rising due to glaciers in northern Europe melting.

Researchers have been rushing to collect artifacts before they are gone for good. Construction is slated to start on the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link within the next year or two. The tunnel will have above-ground facilities that will cover up the dried fjords like the site of the footprints. The Museum Lolland-Falster will continue its excavations and recovery until construction begins, the Huffington Post reported.

The dried up fjords and inlets have not always been dry, and for thousands of years they were a source of water for Stone Age people. The Baltic Sea flooded in 1872 and killed 80 people on Lolland island, which led to the construction of a dyke that has left the fjords dry.

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