An oak water well uncovered near Ostrov (Pardubice Region) is the world’s oldest wooden construction ever discovered.
The well dates to 5,256 or 5,255 BC – the Neolithic period, or the end of the Stone Age – making it 7,275 years old. The structure has been dated using the internal rings of the wood, which are visible in cross-sections.
“The construction of this well is unique,” added archaeologist Jaroslav Peška of the Archaeological Center in Olomouc. “It bears marks of construction techniques used in the Bronze and Iron Ages and even the Roman Age. We had no idea that the first farmers, who only had tools made of stone, bones, horns, or wood, were able to process the surface of felled trunks with such precision.”
Peška said the well’s planks have been submerged in a sugar-water solution so that the sucrose could stabilize the wood’s damaged cellulose.
When the two-year restoration project is complete, the structure will go on display in the Pardubice Museum.
The sophisticated oak well has a square base area of about 30 inches by 30 inches, and is 4.5 feet in height.
It is unusual for the Neolithic period and shows that even people in ancient human settlements benefited from skilled carpenters
The primitive tools available at the time – made of stone, bones, horn or wood – were also sufficient for sophisticated carpentry, the researchers concluded.
‘This type of construction reveals advanced technical know-how and, till now, is the only known type from this region and time period.
The structure was discovered in 2018 during the construction of the D35 motorway near the town of Ostrov, Czech Republic.
The well was preserved because it had been in waterlogged conditions underground for so long – if it had been left to dry out it would have been destroyed.
This is also the oldest archaeological wood in the world that has been dated using dendrochronology.