Archaeologists are currently examining a layer of material found beneath one of the caves. So far, they have discovered fragments of quartz that they believe were used to make tools. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)
Rock fragments found underneath the shelter, which was probably used for rest and eating in-between the ritual ceremonies inside the caves. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)
Seal bones found underneath the rock shelter were radiocarbon dated to around 9,000 years ago. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)
Underneath the rock shelter was a thick layer of broken rocks and animal bones. Here, archaeologists are digging a test pit. (Photo: Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay)
A small rock shelter between the two caves. (Photo: Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay)
Archaeologists also found tools. Here you can see a hammer stone, which may have been used to help grind or smash up various types of material. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)
Here, the archaeologists highlight an area in the second cave where the rock has been ground down. It may have been an altar where offerings for the gods were prepared. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)
The entranceway to the second cave is a bit wider. (Photo: Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay)
Here you can see a fireplace located underneath a massive hole that had been hammered out of the wall. This part of the cave could have been part of an elaborate stage show. It is partially covered, allowing spectators to peer down into the cavern to witness the burning flames accompanied by the loud blows of the hammering. (Photo: Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay)
The entrance to one of the caves is a bit of a squeeze. Two caves were discovered and both appear to have been used for rituals. (Photo: Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay)
Archaeologists explore the island of Blå Jungfrun, which is littered with huge boulders and steep cliffs. The island has been associated with tales of witchcraft, curses, and supernatural powers for centuries. (Photo: Kenneth Alexandersson)

Archaeological discovery in Sweden reveals site of Stone Age rituals

Archaeologists unearth a 9,000-year-old ritual site in a Swedish cave on an island with a long history of superstition and witchcraft.

A 9,000-year-old ritual site has been discovered in caves on the uninhabited island of Blå Jungfrun in Sweden. The island has a long history of witchcraft and religious ceremonies, writes

The finds, some of which are shown in the gallery above, were presented at the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

At the meeting, the archaeologists behind the discovery described it as “astonishing” and say that it “reveal[s] extensive human activities on the island in the Mesolithic Stone Age," according to LiveScience.

Among the discoveries is an altar that shows clear signs of having been shaped with grinding tools. The archaeologists suspect that offerings to deities might have been made here.

There is also an area of the cave that looks like a stage, which could be where ceremonies were performed.

They also discovered the remains of a fireplace that they suspect would have been viewed from above as onlookers watched the ceremonies. It could even have been a theatrical part of the ceremonies held within the caves.

Other finds include stone tools and the remains of seals that date to around 9,000 years ago, found within a shelter between the two caves.

"A few people could’ve been sitting or standing, perhaps just resting or spending the night during sporadic stays on the island," says Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay from Kalmar County Museum to LiveScience. He is one of the archaeologists that discovered the site.

"However, more specific activities with ritualistic elements to [them] cannot be ruled out, such as feasting in connection to the rituals performed in the nearby caves," he explains to LiveScience.

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