Based on ancient tools that have been unearthed, Neanderthals may have sailed the seas 120,000 years ago and landed on a Danish island where perhaps they remained for several years. The island of Zealand is surrounded by about 30 miles of water from the mainland and it was in Ejby Klint that archaeologists from Roskilde Museum and the Danish National Museum found the ancient tools and artifacts.
They conducted their excavations on a steep slope with difficult terrain but it’s the perfect spot to dig as it is only one of a few locations around Denmark where the layers of dirt were created from the last two Ice Ages as well as the warmer Eemian interglacial period that occurred from 127,000 to 106,000 years ago.
They discovered mussel shells and flint that may have been knapped which is when a person uses a tool or rock to create a sharp edge on an object. Lasse Sørensen, who is the head of research at the National Museum in Copenhagen where the objects will be put on display, stated, “It’s absolutely wild and very unique that we’ve had the opportunity to dig here at all.”
Sørensen continued on by stating, “I did not think we would find anything at all, but we have actually found some stones that have possible traces of being humanly worked, and that in itself is amazing,” adding, “If we find out that these stones have been worked by Neanderthals, we are writing Danish history, and it will resonate all over the world.” (Pictures can be seen here.)
Additional testing needs to be done to know for sure whether or not Neanderthals really did live on the island. And if it is confirmed, this would mean that they lived there more than 80,000 years before Homo sapiens inhabited Europe.
In fact, trying to figure out who the first inhabitants of Denmark were is “one of the greatest riddles in history”. The oldest reports of people living in Denmark were reindeer hunters around 14,000 years ago; however, it is known that Neanderthals did live in Germany more than 100,000 years prior to that, so it’s a definite possibility that they also inhabited Denmark.
Sørensen finished off by stating, “Before the excavation, I had no hopes that we would ever find traces of the Neanderthals in Denmark.” “After the excavation, I am more optimistic, and I hope that we can participate in more excavations in the future.”