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Two major archaeological finds have been made in recent weeks. One of the finds, in Sweden, has revealed new information about how Stone Age man lived. The second discovery will provide researchers with information about Elizabethan theater and the great Shakespeare himself.
Stone Age Fishing
The first was found by marine archeologists from Sodertorn University in Stockholm, Sweden. They have discovered the world’s oldest wooden fishing equipment. The discovery was made off the southern coast of Sweden and the eastern coast of Skane County. The remains of the devices were found on the Baltic sea floor at a depth of 5-12 meters (16.5-40 feet).
Seven basket traps, made out of finger-width sized hazel sticks, were found. The baskets appear to be stationary traps that are similar to examples found around the world. Only one of the baskets has been carbon-dated but it appears to be around 9000 years old. According to what Johan Ronnby, a professor of marine archeology at Sodertom University College, told Sveriges Radio, “[the basket trap] is the world’s oldest find of fishing equipment.”
Archaeologists believe that the sticks were woven or tied together with rope to create a fence-like structure. These traps were then placed in the river to guide fish into containers.
The area of the discovery used to be a part of the Verke River 9000 years ago, but the region is now underwater. Some food leftovers and other waste were discovered with the basket traps and it believed this waste was thrown into the river by residents of a nearby community. No settlement has been found by the researchers.
These discoveries were made as a part of a larger research project by MARIS Maritime Archaeology Institute at Sodertorn that has been dubbed the Landscapes Lost project. The project began in 2011 and has been surveying the post-glacial river mouth of the Verke river as well as the archipelago region near Blekinge in southern Sweden.
The eighth millennium BC, when these baskets are believed to have been used, is the period when many researchers believe that Stone Age mankind started developing agriculture and began construction on its earliest cities.
Shakespeare’s Curtain Call
The Museum of London Archaeology announced that remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theater have been discovered in East London. So far the graveled yard, patrons stood on to watch the shows, and some of the foundational walls of the gallery and yard have been unearthed.
According to a spokesperson from Plough Yard Developments the discovery was a pleasant surprise, “Although the Curtain was known to have been in the area, its exact location was a mystery.” The company is hoping to make the preserved remains of the Curtain the centerpiece of their upcoming housing and shopping project in the area.
The theater site was found on Hewett Street in East London and was built outside the city walls in the 1500s.
The theater opened in 1577 and was named for the nearby street called Curtain Close. It was used by Shakespeare’s Lord Chamberlain’s Men between 1597 to 1599. The original performances of Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were shown in the Curtain although many mistakenly believe that they were performed in the Globe. When in Henry V the title character refers to the theater as “the wooden O” he is referring to the Curtain, not the Globe. The theater was dismantled in the seventeenth century which is why its location has been lost for so long.
Shakespeare enthusiasts around the world are excited about what information this theater will provide about Elizabethan theater. London will also likely include the Curtain in its Shakespeare festival that it is planning for this summer during the summer Olympics.