#4. A Way to Cheat at Fishing
While studying the west coast of Wales using Google Earth, archaeologists discovered something unusual in the waters off Poppit Sands, a small beach community near where the Teifi Estuary flows into the sea: a giant underwater “V” so precise it had to be either part of the most pointlessly huge emoticon ever formed or an ancient fish trap.
These underwater traps were once used to catch massive amounts of fish all at once by trading in the typical fishing boats and rods for some good ol’ fashioned interspecies cheating. As the outgoing tide forced the fish along the walls to bottleneck right toward a single gap, nets could be placed there, or the gap could be blocked and the fish would basically catch themselves. This particular trap was over 280 yards long with walls 3 feet wide, making it one of the biggest of its kind ever discovered, and is estimated to be close to 1,000 years old. It likely caught a few fish in its day.
In fact, these mass fishocide funnel contraptions were so good at their job that they were eventually banned in the Magna Carta from use in rivers, or anywhere else for that matter, except for along the coasts.