Denmark: Mesolithic Coastal Landscapes Submerged

Geoff Bailey, Søren H. Andersen, Thijs J. Maarleveld

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Abstract

Denmark has the richest concentration of underwater Stone Age finds in the world, thanks to a combination of factors that include favourable conditions of preservation and a long tradition of professional and amateur interest in underwater prehistory. The majority of finds are from the central areas of the Danish Straits and date back to about 8500 years ago, when rising sea level finally created a marine connection between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Most are in shallow water, c. 2–5 m in depth, but sites at greater depth have also been identified. Most fall within the Ertebølle period, between 7400 and 5900 years ago, and include excavations at shoreline settlements such as Tybrind Vig, Ronæs Skov and Møllegabet II. These sites have yielded large assemblages of material including wooden artefacts such as remains of fish weirs, dugout canoes, bows, spear shafts and leister prongs, as well as remains of fibres and woven fabric. These materials owe their excellent state of preservation to the deposition in fine-grained marine sediments alongside settlement areas located on the shoreline, and to subsequent sea-level rise because of marine inundation, which has maintained the material in permanently waterlogged and anaerobic conditions. This chapter examines the conditions that have given rise to this unusual concentration of underwater sites, provides an overview and illustration of some of the most distinctive finds, discusses their wider significance and addresses future challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Europe’s Drowned Landscapes
EditorsGeoffrey Bailey, Nena Galanidou, Hans Peeters, Hauke Jöns, Moritz Mennenga
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Chapter3
Pages39-76
Number of pages38
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic) 978-3-030-37367-2
ISBN (Print) 978-3-030-37366-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCoastal Research Library
Volume35
ISSN (Print)2211-0577
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0585

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020

Open Access
This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Keywords

  • Boats
  • Fish weirs
  • Submerged settlements
  • Shell mounds
  • Wooden artefacts
  • Mesolithic
  • Kongemose
  • Ertebølle

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    Bailey, G., Andersen, S. H., & Maarleveld, T. J. (2020). Denmark: Mesolithic Coastal Landscapes Submerged. In G. Bailey, N. Galanidou, H. Peeters, H. Jöns, & M. Mennenga (Eds.), The Archaeology of Europe’s Drowned Landscapes (1 ed., pp. 39-76). (Coastal Research Library; Vol. 35). Springer International Publishing. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-37367-2_3