For those who are interested in Arthurian legends, the sword Excalibur was supposedly pulled out of a rock by the ‘true King of Britain’, according to Robert de Boron’s version in Merlin. And while there is a poetic side to this affair, historians have incredibly found a similar scenario of a weapon being deliberately stuck into the landscape. The presumably ritualistic ‘arrangement’ was found in Denmark, and the weapon in question entails a 5,500-year old ax with its handle being intentionally plunged into a seabed.
The oddly positioned artifact was excavated in the area that was previously surveyed for the Femern Belt underwater tunnel project that would connect the Fehmarn island of Germany with the Lolland island of Denmark. Interestingly, the very same site also accounted for 5,000-year old foot prints that were discovered around a month ago by the same archaeological team.
This time around, the researchers found this special ax with its handle intact, and the weapon was embedded with the head going 12 inches beneath the soil level. This particular find was accompanied by other artifacts that included fourteen different ax shafts, two bows, and a paddle. Quite fortuitously, the weather-mitigating silt layer of the seabed has preserved all of the items in rather good conditions.
As for the purpose of the Excalibur-like ax, the historians are almost sure that it was a part of some ritual offering – given the purposefully-achieved vertical positioning of all the ‘standing’ artifacts. This is what Anne-Lotte Sjørup Mathiesen, from the Museum Lolland-Falster, had to say about the intriguing discovery –
Axes are among the typical finds from the Stone Age, but in hafted form (attached to a handle), they are extremely rare. [However] the items clearly show that the population used the coast as an offering area.