Swedish marine archaeologists have found what they believe are the world’s oldest stationary fishing traps on the bottom of the Baltic Sea; the oldest dates back at least 9,000 years.
Archaeologist Arne Sjostrom, of Sodertorn University, Stockholm, found the remains of 7 basket traps, constructed from hazel rods and bound together, in an ancient river valley off Sweden’s southern coast, now submerged at a depth of 5-12 meters. Carbon dating of one of the baskets estimates it to be around 9,000 years old and Sjostrom is “pretty confident this is the world’s oldest stationary fishing trap that has been found so far.”
This find mirrors the discovery of similar fishing traps in the North Sea at submerged sites in what was Doggerland. It has been estimated that the human inhabitants of Doggerland during the Mesolithic acquired 60% of their protein from sea foods (including salmon, flounder, cod, & oysters). So abundant were these marine resources, that they left their nomadic game hunting lifestyle and settled down into sedentary communities. The super-successful fish trap developed during the Mesolithic, is essentially identical in design to those still used in parts of the world to this day.