Danish archeologists find 5,000-year-old map

A mysterious stone found by archeology students during a summer dig on the island of Bornholm might be a 5,000-year-old map showing the location of different fields in the nearby area.

Danish archeologists find 5,000-year-old map
The stone was found broken in two with a small piece missing. Photo: Skalk
The stone, which is no more than 5cm long on the longest side, was found by an archeology student during the excavation of a Neolithic shrine at Vasagård on the southern part of the Baltic island. 
Dr Flemming Kaul, an expert on Bronze Age iconography at the National Museum of Denmark, said that he now believes that the criss-cross pattern on the stone shows topographical detail of land on the island as it was between 2700 and 2900 BC. 
“These are not accidental scratches,” Dr Kaul told the history and archeology magazine Skalk. “Some of the lines may be reproductions of ears of corn, or plants with leaves.” 
Dr Kaul said that if the stone was indeed a map it would be “something very unique, without parallel”. Carvings on some rocks in Italy have been identified as maps but nothing similar has been found in Scandinavia. 
The patterns on previous stones found at the site appear to show the sun and the sun’s rays, and are thought to have been used in rituals. 
Like them, this stone was found broken in two.  Archeologists suspect that the stones may have been deliberately broken as part of a desacralization process at the shrine. 
According to the National Museum, the centre of the stone shows corn in well-defined fields, surrounded by fields which have been ploughed ready for sowing.  Archeologists are interpreting other marks as fences, trees, and perhaps paths. 

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Museums, art galleries and zoos reopen in Denmark

Museums and zoos began reopening in Denmark on Thursday, as the country decided to accelerate its exit from lockdown and health officials said the spread of the new coronavirus was slowing.

Visitors come to the ARoS art gallery in Aarhus, which opened on Friday after two months' closure. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix
The original plan for Denmark was to keep museums, zoos, theatres, cinemas and similar attractions closed until June 8.
But after a deal was struck in the country's parliament late Wednesday they were instead allowed to open immediately.
“It was pure cheer. Finally, we can get started,” Peter Kjargaard, director of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, told broadcaster DR.
Kjargaard added that he was excited to show off the museum's new dinosaur exhibit, even if it wouldn't be ready for another month.
But not all museums reopened their doors on Thursday. Some said they would start receiving customers over the weekend or next week.
Under the deal agreed in parliament, the Danish border remains temporarily closed, but starting next week the list of exceptions allowing travel to Denmark will be expanded to include permanent residents of all the Nordic
countries and Germany wanting to visit relatives, loved ones, or homes they own in Denmark.
High school students will also begin returning to classrooms shortly.
Also on Wednesday, the Danish health agency SSI, which operates under the health ministry and is responsible for the surveillance of infectious diseases, released a report indicating the spread of the disease seems to be slowing, even as the country had started opening up.
SSI said that as of May 18 the infection rate, or reproduction rate, was estimated at 0.6, compared to 0.7 on May 7.
A reproduction rate of 1.0 means that one person with COVID-19 infects on average just one other, while a rate of below 1.0 indicates that the spread is declining.
On April 15, the country started reopening pre-schools and resuming classes for the youngest primary school children — under strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
Danish middle schools followed suit this week.
Another report this week by SSI, however showed that only one percent of Danes carried antibodies for the virus, raising concerns that the country could be vulnerable to a new wave of the virus.