Strangely marked stones and other artifacts unearthed on the island of Bornholm in Denmark have raised new mysteries about a Neolithic sun-worshipping religion centered there about 5,000 years ago.
The new finds include “spider stones,” inscribed with pattern like a spider’s web, and a piece of copper from a time when the metal could not be made by the island’s Stone Age inhabitants, say the researchers.
The handful of newfound spider stones look a little like hundreds of inscribed “sun stones” or “solar stones” — solsten in Danish — found since the 1990s amid the remains of an earthen-walled Neolithic enclosure, about 650 feet (200 m) across, at the Vasagard archaeological site on Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, between the southern tip of Sweden and the coast of Poland.
The round, hand-sized sun stones are made from a type of local stone that was polished and then deliberately marked, using a second piece of stone, with patterns of radiating lines thought to symbolize the sun.
Similar radiating patterns have been inscribed or painted on rock at several prehistoric sites around the world.
But the spider stones found last year are inscribed with distinct straight lines running between and across an underlying pattern of radiating lines, giving them the appearance of a spider’s web, according to the researchers.
Archaeologists have found only about half a dozen of the so-called spider stones among the several hundred sun stones at the Vasagard site, which…