Berlin dig finds city older than thought

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An archaeological dig in downtown Berlin has uncovered evidence that the German capital is at least 45 years older than had previously been established, authorities said Wednesday.

During excavation work last week in the Mitte district, archaeologists uncovered a wooden beam from an ancient earthen cellar, said Karin Wagner of the city-state's office for historical preservation.

It was in exceptionally good condition, having lain under the water table for centuries, and scientists were able to determine from a sample taken that it had been cut down in 1192.

That means it dates to 45 years before the official date of Berlin's birth, 1237 — the year in which documents first mention the settlement, referring to the priest of the Petrikirche church, which stood not far from the site of the new dig.

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