Radiocarbon dating has determined that the objects date from the end of the last Ice Age, when much of the North Sea was dry land. [Read more about the North Sea findings]
As the climate warmed, the extensive plains became covered by pine forests inhabited by deer, elk, wild boar – and early human hunters.
The shape of the skull suggests it probably came from a woman, and chemical analysis indicates she was part of a hunter-gatherer community that often ate meat from hunted animals.
It has been decorated with dense patterns of carved zig-zag designs in several places.
The zig-zag patterns are characteristic of a geometric art style found across northwest Europe during the Late Paleolithic period.
It was found near the port of Rotterdam by amateur paleontologist Mirjam Kruizinga, in sand that had been dredged from the North Sea.
They date from the Mesolithic period (Middle Stone Age).