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20 October 2010
Pristine Stone Age settlement discovered in Norway

The discovery of a 'sealed' Stone Age house site from 3500 BCE has stirred great excitement among archaeologists from Norway's Museum of Cultural History at the University in Oslo. The settlement site at Hamresanden, close to Kristiansand's airport at Kjevik in Southern Norway, looks like it was covered by a sandstorm, possibly in the course of a few hours. The catastrophe for the Stone Age occupants has given archaeologists an untouched site, containing the most well-preserved pottery from the Stone Age ever found in Norway.
     "This is the first time we've made a find like this in Norway," the spokesperson for the Hamresanden excavation, assistant professor Håkon Glørstad, said. "Usually, clay pots from this period, which we call traktbegerkulturen, (Funnelbeaker culture) are broken and in tiny pieces," Glørstad said. "Here we find them almost intact. One entirely complete vessel, 25 to 30 cm deep, with a 35-cm diameter at the rim, has been taken out of the ground packed in its clod of soil." Glørstad  added that the team working on the site at Hamresanden has discovered so many large shards of pottery that they think they can put together as many as eight beaker-shaped vessels.
     The dwelling site lies 11 meters over sea level today, some 70 to 80 meters from today's shoreline, but was at the water's edge 5,500 years ago. The discoveries were made at a depth of two meters below ground. So far around 300 square meters have been excavated.
     "During this period, Norway was much drier than today, and sandstorms were far from rare, as various strata of sand deposits at the site show," Glørstad said. "Last year's pilot survey suggested that we might find something here. The site is ideally situated for a coastal settlement, next to the mouth of a river of significant proportions." He said the archaeologists have also found as many as 20 arrowheads and tailings from tool production, including 'complete wooden artifacts.' "As the sea level was even lower in times preceding this, we can expect to find much older dwelling sites under water in the same area," said Glørstad.

Edited from NewsinEnglish.no (1 October 2010)

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