Going underground: The massive European network of Stone Age tunnels that weaves from Scotland to Turkey
Evidence of tunnels has been found under hundreds of yNeolithic settlements
That so many tunnels have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original network must have been enormous
Stone Age man created a massive network of underground tunnels criss-crossing Europe from Scotland to Turkey, a new book on the ancient superhighways has claimed.
German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kusch said evidence of the tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over the continent.
In his book - Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World - he claims the fact that so many have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original tunnel network must have been enormous.
'In Bavaria in Germany alone we have found 700metres of these underground tunnel networks. In Styria in Austria we have found 350metres,' he said.
Across Europe there were thousands of them - from the north in Scotland down to the Mediterranean.
'Most are not much larger than big wormholes - just 70cm wide - just wide enough for a person to wriggle along but nothing else.
'They are interspersed with nooks, at some places it's larger and there is seating, or storage chambers and rooms.
'They do not all link up but taken together it is a massive underground network.'
Some experts believe the network was a way of protecting man from predators while others believe that some of the linked tunnels were used like motorways are today, for people to travel safely regardless of wars or violence or even weather above ground.
The book notes that chapels were often built by the entrances perhaps because the Church were afraid of the heathen legacy the tunnels might have represented, and wanted to negate their influence.
In some cases writings have been discovered referring to the tunnels seen as a gateway to the underworld.