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Scientists Unearth Mysterious Stone Age Labyrinth in Denmark

Feb 28, 2017 09:57 AM EST

The past years have yielded a number of palisade enclosures from the Stone Age, but scientists remain in the dark about their purpose. A recent excavation last September uncovered a series of ancient fences that span an area roughly the size of two large sports fields, according to a report from Atlas Obscura.

The five rows of fences were built in the Neolithic period, an era that ended at around 2,000 B.C. Each pole stood around six and a half feet high.

With each ring of fence inside another, the strange construction captured the curiosity of scientists who are unsure about the purpose of these enclosures. The openings in each ring were offset from each other so an individual can't see or walk straight into the center of the fenced-in area. Archaeologist Pernille Rohde Sloth, who led the excavation told Science Nordic that the enclosures seemed more like a maze.

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"The openings don't seem to sit next to each of the post rows, and we're slightly amazed by that," she said. "But maybe it functioned as a sort of labyrinth - at least that's how we imagine it. That way you weren't able to look inside the common space, which may have been an advantage."

While palisade enclosures were often built for defense, Sloth and the rest of the scientists believe that this particular one has a different purpose. Because the poles weren't built too close to each other, a person could squeeze in to enter the fenced-in area and it wouldn't be effective protection at all. Instead, it may have been a gathering area.

Because archaeologists haven't found anything definitive in the area, its function is still up in the air. The only things they've dug up are a handful of single pits that contain flint tools, waste, and some ceramic fragments.

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