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Danish archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a mysterious Neolithic labyrinth in the Stevns municipality on the east coast, the true nature of which has yet to be determined.
Covering an area of around 60,000 square feet, the labyrinth has several offset openings implying an aim of slowing the progress of someone trying to reach the middle. What the structure might have contained in the middle is unknown, and unlike similar sites in Europe, there are so far no signs of animal bones, tools and the like which are often a sign of a temple.
Danish Archaeologists discover mysterious ancient Labyrinth
Whether the labyrinth was used for defensive purposes in slowing the advance of attacking troops, or perhaps as a coliseum of sorts where games and arranged fights might have taken place, is not yet known. Other theories include a site of ancient rituals and less excitingly as a pen for livestock, although the remains of axes and flint shards do support the idea that some conflict took place there.
The area of Denmark that the site has been found in isn’t known to have been a major seat of power for the area during that time, meaning the identity of which local lord or chieftain ordered its construction will likely also remain a mystery.
Pernille Rohde Sloth, the leading archaeologist examining the site, was quoted as saying:
“It was somewhat overwhelming to experience that it is possible to reveal the traces of such a huge building from the Neolithic period. There are many suggestions for what they could’ve been used for, but to put it simply, we just don’t know.”
The construction of such a structure in the Neolithic era would have been a massive undertaking for the people of the time with their limited technologies, although not without precedent. Other famous examples of Neolithic works of a similar scale include Stonehenge, the Easter Island Moai and the Nasca Lines of Peru.
Given the age of the structure, which experts have estimated to be around 5000 years, placing it into the Neolithic or new stone age, finding out for certain what it was used for could be difficult. Many of the structures and clues having now been lost to time.
The full excavation of the site might also prove to be difficult as the site was first discovered when breaking ground for a sports complex. Construction on the complex has since continued, slowing down the excavation of the Neolithic site and possibly jeopardizing the full mapping of the site.