Norway archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull

Archaeologists in Norway have found what might be an 8,000-year-old skull, possibly containing brain matter, in a dig site in Stokke, southwest of Oslo. They say the find could help explain living conditions in the Stone Age.

Norway archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull
Archaeologists in Norway have found an 8,000-year-old skull, still containing
 brain matter [Credit: Gaute Reitan]
The team has been digging at the Stokke site for two months and believe that the site consists of two separate Stone Age settlements. Among many other findings at the dig, the latest find is a human skull, which still appears to contain brain matter, and they hope that the find will tell them something about how it was to live in the Stone Age.

Experts are not yet sure whether the skull belongs to an animal or a child, According to Gaute Reitan, dig site leader, "It is too early to say. We need help from bone experts."

Speaking of the possible brain matter inside the skull, Reitan told NRK, “Inside it is something rather grey and clay-like,” adding, “You can just think for yourself what that may be.

"When we dug out some sample squares here, we very early came down to masses of soil, rich in carbon. We sent samples of this soil for fast dating in order to find a little more out of what we were dealing with. The bones in the pit are just as old," Reitan said.

Norway archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull
Archaeologist Joachim Field Power excavating what is thought to be an 
8,000 year old burial [Credit: Gaute Reitan]
“It’s seldom enough that we get to dig in a camp from a portion of the Stone Age that we really don’t know much about,” Reitan added. “But the fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special.”

Other bone fragments were found at the site and analysis will determine whether these are from people or animals. One was “quite large,” Reitan said, “maybe a shoulder- or hip bone.”

Reitan added that the archaeologists “now need help from the experts” to analyze and date the material, however, he did say they’re “quite sure” already that it dates from the Stone Age.

If confirmed, “it can help us learn more about what it was like to live in the Stone Age in Norway.”
Early testing has dated the skull at around 5,900 BC, meaning it is almost 8,000 years old.

Author: Anne Sewell | Source: Digital Journal [July 10, 2014]

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