The prehistoric archaeological site of Vasagård in Denmark has once again revealed a trove of curious artifacts from a long-forgotten era. According to The Copenhagen Post, archaeologists working on the island of Bornholm discovered hundreds of so-called “sun stones,” mysterious prehistoric stones with intricate patterns of designs etched into them. Historians and archaeologists still aren’t sure what the purpose of the stones might have been.
Close to 300 fragments and shards of the sun stones were found, all of them etched and carved with mysterious symbols and patterns. Interestingly, the stones were found on the island of Bornholm, an island locals refer to as “Sunshine Island.” The sun stones are estimated to be around 5,000 years old, and the designs on them vary significantly from stone to stone. Some stones appear to display a spider-web type pattern, while others have just a single ring of etch marks.
Finn Ole Sonne Nielsen, the lead archaeologist at Bornholm Museum who led this excavation, says whatever the stones were, they were likely something Prehistoric people used on a daily basis:
Many of the stones are very worn, so it looks as though someone has walked around with them in their pocket. We’ve known about sun stones for a while, but the field stones are something entirely new – just yesterday we found four – and the variation among them with spider webs is something we didn’t know existed.
One of the theories floating around is that the sun stones might have been a prehistoric form of money, while others suggest the stones might have been a type of totem intentionally broken during funerary ceremonies. Earlier this year, a similar artifact was discovered: a stone etched with symbols which is believed to be one of the world’s oldest maps.
The island of Bornholm is proving itself to be one of the richest archaeological sites in Europe, hinting the existence of an advanced Stone Age culture possibly with its own writing system. Just what were these stones used for?