Station: [2] The Stone Age on Föhr

M: Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Middle Ages: in this room, you’ll zip through ten thousand years of Föhr’s history. It’ll be like time-lapse photography. From the nomadic peoples 10,000 years ago, to the first settlers, to the arrival of the Frisian immigrants.

F: We’ll start with the oldest man-made object in the entire museum. You’ll find it in the first showcase on the left: a small 8,000 year-old bone harpoon. It was originally mounted on a stick and would have been used to spear fish as they swam past. It was discovered by chance during building work in the Wyk Marsh, at a depth of four meters or thirteen feet. It not only provides evidence of the early presence of hunters and fishers on what is now the island of Föhr, but also speaks to the profound changes the landscape has undergone.

M: Even during the Mesolithic period, the sea level was almost 100 meters or roughly 330 feet below what it is today. You could actually walk from Denmark to England without ever getting your feet wet. Föhr – the red circle on the map in the display case – was far inland. So that harpoon wasn’t used to spear fish in the sea, but in a river!

F: During the Neolithic period, the seas rose almost to their current level. More and more land was lost, but Föhr, Amrum and Sylt survived as islands. Their slightly higher geest, or heathland cores consist of sand, clay and debris deposited here by glaciers during
the Ice Age. The low-lying marsh was formed much later from marine sedimentary deposits. The harpoon lay deep within those layers.

M: During the Neolithic period, people from what’s known as the "Funnel Beaker” or “Megalithic” culture arrived in the region. They
were sedentary. They cleared the forests with flint axes, grew crops and bred livestock. They left behind typical funnel-shaped, elaborately decorated clay pots. And in the early days, they buried their dead individually in chambers built of large, erratic boulders
and then covered with a mound of earth, a tumulus or barrow. The island’s oldest grave, on the Utersum dyke, is known as the "Urdolmen". An axe blade and a potsherd were discovered inside.

F: Over time, the graves increased in size and were used for multiple burials. One large burial chamber, discovered by accident in a garden in Nieblum, yielded blades and chisels made of special red Heligoland flint. As to how the items were transported from Heligoland across the rough North Sea to Föhr – apparently late Stone Age people already had seaworthy boats!

Fotos: © Dr.-Carl-Häberlin-Friesen-Museum