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Archaeo News 

29 June 2015
5,500-year-old fingerprint found on Danish vessel

Danish archaeologists doing a survey ahead of the construction of the Femern Belt link scheme, an immersed tunnel that will connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland, have found a 5,500-year old-ceramic vessel bearing the fingerprint of the artisan who made it. It was found in pieces in a former fjord east of Rødby Havn, on the south coast of Lolland, Denmark.
     The vessel is known with the name 'funnel beaker,' a kind of ceramics which features a flat bottom with a funnel shaped neck. Such earthenware is characteristic of the Funnel Beaker Culture (4000-2800 BCE), which represents the first farmers in Scandinavia and the north European plain.
     "It is one of three beakers at the site, which originally was deposited whole probably containing some food or liquid presumably as part of some long forgotten ritual," Line Marie Olesen, archaeologist at the Museum Lolland-Falster said. At the same site Olesen and colleagues last year found a 5,500-year-old flint axe with the handle still attached. The axe was deliberately jammed into what used to be the seabed during the Stone Age.
     As the beaker was brought to the Danish National Museum for conservation, experts noticed a fingerprint on the interior surface. "It must have been left there while manufacturing the pot," Olesen said. "The fragile fingerprint, left unintentionally, is an anonymous, yet very personal signature, which somehow brings us a bit closer to the prehistoric people and their actions," Olesen added.
     Last year the same archaeological survey unearthed 5,000-year-old footprints left by people who attempted to save parts of their fishing system before it was flooded and covered in sand.

Edited from Discovery News (26 June 2015)

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