The wooden well discovered in the Czech Republic is the “oldest artificial wood structure in the world”
An oak water well discovered in the Czech Republic is the oldest timber construction in the world ever discovered.
The well dates from 5,256 or 5,255 a. C., the Neolithic period, or the end of the Stone Age, which makes it 7,275 years old.
The structure has been dated using internal wood rings, which are visible in cross sections.
The sophisticated oak pit has a square base area of approximately 30 inches by 30 inches and measures 4.5 feet tall.
The object is unusual for the Neolithic period and shows that even people in ancient human settlements benefited from expert carpenters.
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The well is the oldest artificial wood construction in the world, dating from 5256 or 5255 BC, more than 7,000 years ago
“The design consists of grooved corner posts with inserted planks,” the researchers said in their study, published in Archaeological Science Magazine.
‘This type of construction reveals advanced technical knowledge and, so far, is the only known type of this region and time period.
“The shape of the individual structural elements and the tool marks preserved on their surface confirm sophisticated carpentry skills.”
The structure was discovered in 2018 during the construction of the D35 motorway near the city of Ostrov, Czech Republic.
The wood paneling of the well was found at a depth of approximately 5 feet (1.74 meters) below the surface.
After their discovery, archaeologists rushed to establish protective boundaries surrounding the site in case of new discoveries.
However, the researchers determined that the well was an isolated construction that served nearby settlements rather than being part of an ancient city.
The structure was discovered during construction work on the D35 motorway, which is supposed to connect Bohemia and Moravia through the northern part of the Czech Republic
“The construction of this well is unique,” said Jaroslav Peška, head of the Archaeological Center of Olomouc, Czech Republic, at the time of the excavation.
‘We believe it was used by settlers during what we call the Neolithic Revolution, during a transition from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to an agriculture and settlement one.
‘These people probably built houses of simple structure and pets and were able to make ceramic objects.
An aerial view of the excavation site. Investigators concluded that the well was an isolated structure that served nearby settlements.
The well was preserved because it had been in underground waterlogging conditions for a long time; if it had been dried, it would have been destroyed.
The shape of the structural elements and the brands of tools preserved on the surface confirm sophisticated carpentry skills, say the researchers.
Tool marks left by polished stone tools were observed, such as axes and shoe ornaments, long, thin tools of polished stone for felling trees and carpentry.
The design itself consists of corrugated corner posts with inserted planks, a construction of advanced technical knowledge and the only known example of which comes from this region and period of time.
Reconstructed Neolithic footings – long, thin tools of polished stone for felling trees and carpentry – of a palafitos village in Gaienhofen-Untergarten, Germany. Researchers believe that well manufacturers in the Czech Republic used shoe ornaments based on the marks left on the surface
The identification of the wood used to make the well shows mainly oaks and hazelnuts, which indicates that it was taken from a local forest.
The lining of the chest-shaped well was formed by four oak corner posts, placed at 90 degrees from each other.
Within these posts, oak planks were inserted horizontally in seven layers.
In addition, at least two of the corner posts were made of trees felled before the rest of the structure.
The first publication was made from a log cut in autumn or winter from 5259 or 5258 a. C., at least nine years before.
This suggests that the carpenters of the time were also in favor of recycling the wood already used to make new structures.
The researchers concluded that the primitive tools available at that time, made of stone, bones, horn or wood, were also sufficient for sophisticated carpentry.
The structure is also the oldest archaeological wood in the world that has been dated using dendrochronology.
WHAT IS DENDROCRONOLOGY?
Dendrochronology, or tree dating, is the scientific study of tree rings to determine age.
The samples are obtained by means of a drill, a simple small diameter metal tube that can be introduced into the tree to obtain a core that extends from the outer bark to the center.
This nucleus is divided in the laboratory and the rings are counted and measured and compared with the sequences of other nuclei.
Trees get a new ring once a year, and the width of each ring corresponds to the amount of growth per year.
Because the growth of tree rings can be affected by the weather, tree ring dating is also used to study the weather and atmospheric conditions that go back thousands of years.