Early Stone Age Site Found in Utrecht, Extends Dutch City’s History Back to 11,000 BC

Prehistoric finds from the newly discovered Early Stone Age site in Utrecht, Netherlands, some of which go back to 11,000 BC. Photo: TV grab from RTV Utrecht

An Early Stone Age settlement has been discovered by archaeologists in Utrecht in the Central Netherlands, meaning that the history of the Dutch city goes back to 11,000 BC.

That is 8,000 years earlier than previously thought, as the prehistoric traces that had been found in Utrecht earlier were from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

The Early Stone Age settlement in Utrecht has been discovered by archaeologists excavating the site of the Prinses Máxima Centrum for children with cancer ahead of its expansion, reports Dutch News, citing RTV Utrecht.

The dig has yielded traces of human habitation and artifacts from the Early Stone Age, some of which indicated that Utrecht’s territory was inhabited as far back as 11,000 BC.

“There have been prehistoric finds in Leidsche Rijn and Hoograven, particularly from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. But this discovery means the history of Utrecht started 8,000 years earlier than the history books tell us," Utrecht alderman Kees Geldof is quoted as saying.

The excavations in the Dutch city have also demonstrated that the prehistoric site had been inhabited without interruption throughout the Stone Age.

“[The prehistoric residents of the site] dug holes and used wooden poles which when rotted away left black marks which can still be seen," archaeologist Linda Dielemans explains.

Dielemans and her colleagues have found a number of artifacts as shards from the Bronze Age and the Neolithic, flint from the Mesolithic used by hunter-gatherers as well as wooden items from the river, including a little statuette-like item with a face.

“It is very special that these objects should be found in a place where ill children will be cared for," Diana Monissen, chairwoman of the cancer center board, has told the broadcaster.

“We can use them to organize something for the children. Taking a trip to the past would be something nice for them to do," she has said.

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