Ken’s Korner: Wooden wells date to 5000 BC
News & Views From the World of Antiques & Collectibles
By Ken Hall
Wooden water wells made out of oak timbers more than 7,000 years old have been discovered in eastern Germany. The workmanship suggests sophisticated carpentry skills on the part of Neolithic farming communities not thought possible until now. There were 151 oak timbers in all, and they were preserved in a waterlogged environment. They date to between 5469-5098 BC and challenge previous assumptions that metal (not yet discovered) would have been needed to create complex wooden structures.
So how were they made? By using stone adzes of at least two different sizes to produce finely cut timbers, which were joined using sophisticated (for their time) wooden corner joining and log constructions through wedge tusk tenon joints and interlocked corner joints. Some tool marks also suggest the use of bone chisels in the process. Fast forward to present times, where certain kinds of carpentry are utilized in this very same way, without nails, screws or power tools (although metal tools are naturally most often used).