Scientists discover 8,000 year old string
Maybe they misheard the question, but archaeologists say a piece of string is 8,000 years old.
They found the antique string – the oldest ever found in Britain – hidden amongst a flooded Stone Age settlement just off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
It’s four and a half inches long and experts say it is made from stems of honeysuckle, nettles or wild clematis twisted together.
The editor of the British Archaeology magazine, Mike Pitts described it as a “fantastic find” adding: “I don’t think the average person realises what an important piece of technology string has been over the ages.”
It’s unknown how much such a relic would fetch at auction. Experts say it’s quite valuable in a historical sense but fear it would be like paying money for old rope. Internationally much older bits of string have been found, desert conditions in Israel have preserved pieces which are 19,000 years old.
Some believe string could even pre-date humans as some gorillas and chimps have been known to twist fibres together and even tie knots.
Experts believe the settlement was flooded at the end of the last ice age, when glacial sheets that covered most of Europe, including Britain from the Midlands northwards, melted.
Jan Gillespie, of Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, said: “The string was found with wooden planks and stakes and some pits containing burnt flint. We believe they may have been heated up to help work timber into boats.”