7,000-year-old Neolithic well is oldest wooden structure ever discovered

by Editorial Team

Well, well, well.

And then some.

A 7,000-year-old well unearthed in the Czech Republic is the oldest wooden structure ever recorded in Europe, and possibly the world.

Made of oak, it was well-preserved enough to allow archaeologists to study the technological details and use tree-ring dating to determine its age. They found that the trees used in its construction were chopped down in 5256-44 B.C., “which makes this well the oldest dendrochronologically dated archaeological wooden construction worldwide,” researchers at the University of Pardubice in eastern Czechoslovakia said in the abstract to their study, published in the March edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

It’s the third Early Neolithic well discovered in the Czech Republic in the past four years, the researchers said. The well was found in 2018 during excavation for a highway in the eastern part of the republic, and joins six other wells from various prehistoric periods discovered during the road’s construction, the researchers said in a statement.

The archaeologists now are tasked with preserving it for further study. It’s a months-long process they’re developing to preserve the wood’s cellular structure using sugar, CNN explained.

“The well was only preserved because it had been underwater for centuries,” the researchers said. “Now we cannot let it dry out, or the well would be destroyed.”

The environment around the well, and what was found in it, will also contribute to the knowledge of life during the Neolithic period, which stretched from around 9,000 B.C. to about 3,000 B.C. It’s also known as the New Stone Age, when humans started depending on domesticated pants and animals, grinding stone tools, settling in permanent villages and inventing pottery and weaving, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

It’s sandwiched between the Paleolithic Period and the Bronze Age and is sort of a bridge between the two.

The researchers have identified “residues of crop plant species, including prehistoric wheat, flax, or rarely evidenced opium poppy,” they said. “Wild plant species will enable a better understanding of first farmers’ activities and reconstructing the history of the introduction of non-native species by man.”

The well is constructed of four corner posts with longitudinal grooves at a precise 90-degree angle, the researchers noted. The posts were previously felled trunks. It is 56 inches high with a 32-inch-square base, CNN said.

“The design consists of grooved corner posts with inserted planks,” the researchers wrote. “This type of construction reveals advanced technical know-how and, till now, is the only known type from this region and time period. The shape of the individual structural elements and tool marks preserved on their surface confirm sophisticated carpentry skills.”

READ FROM SOURCE: https://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ny-7000-years-old-well-czech-republic-oldest-wooden-structure-20200204-xhhy74pmlvbjhmxdsqwwiwg22e-story.html

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