The Brits might have been taking a sauna 4,000 years ago!
January 9, 2017 – Archaeologists have uncovered a pit in East Yorkshire that some are speculating could have been used as a sauna. Digging in this space has been going on for several months, and a mammoth tusk and a polished Cumbrian axe have also been discovered. Each of those items date back 4,000-5,000 years.
It’s a circular monument of sorts, made with stones that look to have been heavily burned. While some believe it could have been used as a place for ritual cremation, there is also the possibility it could have instead been an ancient sauna.
If it was indeed a sauna, it would have been similar to what Native Americans used as a sweat lodge. A lodge would have stones that were burned by heating them over an outdoor fire. Once hot, the stones would be brought inside to a hearth. Water would be poured over the piping hot rocks and tribal members would circle it to take in the steam.
On Scotland’s Orkney Islands, a Bronze Age sauna had been unearthed as well. And, not to be outdone, naturally there have been similar sites discovered in Finland. It’s fascinating to realize how long the practice of sauna has been around!