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2019-11-28 08:49:29   •   ID: 2136

Maglemose Now!

Figure 1
The first investigation of the early Mesolithic was at Mullerup in western Zealand (Sarauw, 1903).

The name of the bog, ‘Maglemosen’, later gave its name to the early Mesolithic of southern Scandinavia: the Maglemose culture (c. 11,6–8,4 k.a. cal BP).

Figure 2
The broken "barbed point", shown here is characteristic for this early period and is named after the Mullerup main-type.

Many of these short, broad points were found, without Archaeological context during Interwar Denmark when digging peat. Often there are 2 or 3 barbs, more rarely there are 4 or 5.

The characteristic microlith flint technology and big game forest hunting distinguishs the early Mesolithic from the preceding late Palaeolithic of the northern European plain.

During the 20th century material from Danish bog excavations defined and described the Maglemosian and became a stable reference for the early Mesolithic in Northern Europe.

This post is focused on advances of Maglemose chronology.

The chronological framework of the early Mesolithic in N-Europe is based on:

  • Pollen analysis: Detailed profiles were established on a regional and a more geographical extensive scale, demonstrating the delay of certains regions to the ice-core results.

    For example the transition to deciduous forest occurred earlier in the south-east part of Southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany compared to the north-west.

    " The start of rapid Holocene warming at 11,7 k.a.(c. 11, BP) initiated a complex series of climatic responses in northern Europe with associated responses in biological systems and their ecology.

    The late Glacial succession of vegetational immigration has been well described in northern Europe over many years. These studies were mostly based on pollen analyses and much of the biostratigraphic zonation was determined from southern Scandinavian sites.

    They also detected hitherto undocumented rapid climatic changes during the early Holocene (c. 11,653 cal BP. These events, recorded in correlated relative chronologies, have since been shown in many paleoclimatic indicators from the northern hemisphere within absolute chronologies.

    The events, which are often suggested to be associated with meltwater pulses into the North Atlantic Ocean, were part of an early Holocene dynamic climate with rapidly changing temperatures and precipitation regimes, possibly impacting the developing landscapes and the large scale migrations of the associated flora and fauna. Disentangling this complex mixture of responses to early Holocene climatic change with all their associated time delays can be aided by sites with secure stratigraphic contexts and the integration of different scientific disciplines
    (Jessen et al. 2015).

  • Lithic analysis: Microliths and lithic blade technology are the most important issues for a relative chronology. Microliths and their frequencies, suggested a division into six phases (Petersen 1973). More recently, a study of the Maglemose culture lithic blade technologies defined seven different concepts (Sørensen 2006)

  • Modern C-14 AMS dating, especially AMS technology, pretreatment protocols and Bayesian modeling revolutionized absolute dating during the last years with a high precession.

I will not go into further details here-The Monographies about Star Carr, reports about the Reevaluation of Hohen Viecheln and Friesack are full of exciting Stories—just read the attached external links!

Please also note the wonderful compilation in Dons Map!

Suggested Reading:

Figure 2
Millner et al. Star Carr Volume 1: a persistent place in a changing World 2018

Milner, N et al. 2018. Star Carr Volume 2: Studies in Technology, Subsistence and Environment 2018

Groß et al. Working at the sharp end at Hohen Viecheln: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe (Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein) 2019- free download!-see last external link.

Schuldt, E. Hohen Viecheln. Ein mittelsteinzeitlicher Wohnplatz in Mecklenburg 1961

Holst, D Subsistenz und Landschaftsnutzung im Frühmesolithikum: Nussröstplätze am Duvensee (Monographien Des Romisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, Band 120)