Feb 06, 2020

Well, Well, Well...Archaeologists Uncover 7,000-Year-Old Water Well

Archaeologists excavated a wooden Neolithic water well that is about 7,000-years old. 


drinking water, well water, ancient well

An international team of archaeologists excavated a wooden Neolithic water well that is about 7,000-years-old. 

The well is specifically made of oak trees at the northern border of the town of Ostrov in the Czech Republic, according to Sci-News.

More than 40 Neolithic water wells are known in Europe, according to Mendel University researcher Michal Rybnicek and his colleagues from the Czech Republic and Germany.

The well discovered, the Ostrov water well, was excavated in 2018 during the construction of a motorway in East Bohemian, Czech Republic. 

“These wells represent the oldest dendrochronologically dated wooden structures in the world,” said Rybnicek and his colleagues. “It is the third well from the Early Neolithic period that has been discovered in the Czech Republic within the last four years.”

According to the archaeologists who dug it up, the well filling was in poor condition. Researchers are developing a process to dry the wood and preserve it without deformation, using sugar to reinforce the wood's cellular structure, according to CNN.

“A chest-like well lining was formed by four oak corner posts, each with two longitudinal grooves, set at 90 degrees to each other, in which oak planks were inserted horizontally in seven layers,” said the archaeologists. “The diameter of the posts ranged from 6 to 8.7 inches and they had 33 to 80 tree rings.”

Small fragments of ceramics were found in the remaining parts as well, reported Sci-News.

Researchers took samples from 21 wooden elements of the well for a dendrochronological analysis, discovering that the oak trees used for the Ostrov well were cut between 5256 and 5255 BCE. At the time, Neolithic people used stones, wood, horns and bone, reported CNN

“The excellent conservation of the timbers from the well under waterlogged conditions allowed a detailed description of the structure and dating with dendrochronological as well as radiocarbon methods,” said the researchers

The well is the oldest discovered wooden well in Europe as well as the oldest dendrochronologically dated archaeological wood in the world, reported Sci-News.

The team’s paper will be published in the Mar. 2020 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Read related content about PFAS in wells: