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Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:00cat

Ancient well is probably the oldest wooden structure ever found

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Probably world's oldest wooden structure ever discovered Probably world's oldest wooden structure ever discovered CNN

Scientists have found what is probably the world's oldest wooden structure dating back to the Neolithic Age.

The structure was discovered near Ostrov, a town located between the regions of Bohemia and Moravia, Czech Republic. 

Archeologists utilized a technique known as dendrochronology which is a method to determine the age of the wood based on tree rings. They found out that the oak wood from which the structure consists, was cut 7.275 years old. The findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. "According to our findings, based particularly on dendrochronological data, we can say that the tree trunks for the wood used were felled in the years 5.255 and 5.256 BCE. The rings on the trunks enable us to give a precise estimate, give or take one year, as to when the trees were felled," Jaroslav Peška, an archaeologist for the Archaeological Centre Olomouc in the Czech Republic and co-author of the study, stated in July 2019.

The structure was utilized as a well and was built by prehistoric farmers. Its shape was square measuring 0,8x0,8x1,4 meters in length, width and height, respectively. 

The well was sufficiently preserved as it has been beneath the water level for thousands of years. Researchers were able to pinpoint indications from stone tools that were used to shape the structure. Back then, people would have used trunks to shape the wooden surfaces, a procedure that would require significant skill and tools. "The construction of this well is unique. It bears marks of construction techniques used in the Bronze and Iron ages and even the Roman Age. We had no idea that the first farmers, who only had tools made of stone, bones, horns, or wood, were able to process the surface of felled trunks with such precision," Peška, said.

According to the findings, the two pillars of the well were much older and, therefore, scientists concluded that they had been utilized for other purposes before turned into poles for the well.

Currently, the structure cannot be dried as it will collapse. However, scientists are developing a method to preserve the wood without suffering damage. This technique involves the utilization of sugar that can strengthen the wood's cellular structure.

No subsequent structures nearby the well were discovered, a fact that shows that it was used to serve communities established in a certain distance. 

It should be pointed out that the well is not officially the oldest wooden structure ever found yet. There are similar wells discovered in Europe that date back to the same era. Moreover, some of them are suggested to be constructed earlier, however, the authors of the study highly doubt the measurements since dendrochronology method was not used and the dating is unreliable.

Sources: SciencealertCNNCBS


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