Researchers Find Ancient Stilt Village Beneath Lake

8,500-year-old site at Lake Ohrid in Albania was encircled by spiked planks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2023 10:24 AM CDT
Europe's Oldest Lake Village Had a Defensive Mystery
A file photo of Lake Ohrid in the Balkans.   (Getty / Wirestock)

Archeologists poking around under the waves of Lake Ohrid in the Balkans have discovered a stilt village now believed to be the oldest known lake village in all of Europe, reports the AFP. The village in Lin, Albania, dates back 8,500 years, roughly a 1,000 years older than any previously discovered such site on the continent. It was apparently built on the shoreline, and the discovery buttresses the notion that Lin served as an important farming hub in Europe at the time, per USA Today. But life wasn't apparently all placid—researchers also discovered to their surprise that the village was encircled by spiked planks in what they presume to be a defensive measure, according to Popular Mechanics.

"Building their village on stilts was a complex task, very complicated, very difficult, and it's important to understand why these people made this choice," Albanian archaeologist Adrian Anastasi tells the AFP. The construction included about 100,000 planks, adorned with spikes, driven into the bottom of the lake around the village. "To protect themselves, they had to cut down a forest" is how lead researcher Albert Hafner of the University of Bern in Switzerland puts it. Further research at the site might shed light not only on the lifestyle of inhabitants but the reason for their defensive posture. The lake, which also borders Macedonia, is known as the "Pearl of the Balkans." (More discoveries stories.)

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