The Baltic and Scandinavia: Introduction

Geoff Bailey, Hauke Jöns

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This section deals with some of the largest concentrations of underwater sites in Europe. Because of the complex history of isostatic rebound and periodic damming back of the Baltic Sea associated with the retreat of the Scandinavian ice sheet, these chapters also present a wide range of preservation conditions and palaeoenvironmental changes, ranging from shorelines that have been lifted clear of sea-level rise in Norway and parts of Sweden but without organic preservation, to sinking shorelines on the Baltic coastlines of Denmark and Germany with little overburden of marine sediments and spectacular organic preservation, to open-coast conditions along the North Sea shorelines of Denmark and Germany where sites are mostly buried under thick marine deposits. Many sites in Denmark and Germany have benefited from systematic excavation, demonstrating that the majority of finds and features have been recovered from marine refuse areas in shallow water along the shoreline and that the adjacent settlement areas originally located on dry land have been largely eroded away or badly disturbed by subsequent sea-level rise. The abundance of finds and excellent preservation in many cases reflect the high marine productivity of the Littorina Sea and the concentration of settlements on the shoreline with a heavy emphasis on marine resources, the presence of coastal topography conducive to trapping of fish and sea mammals, the deposition of cultural material directly into shallow water with fine-grained sediments where items were quickly buried and protected from bacterial attack or marine erosion and the occurrence of settlements in relatively shallow water easily accessible to diver investigation. There is considerable scope for new investigations and new discoveries, not only in Denmark and Germany but also in Norway, where study of the numerous Stone Age sites on uplifted shorelines has overshadowed investigation of the many regions with inundated coastlines, in Sweden, where the Early Mesolithic period, almost non-existent on the submerged shorelines of Denmark and Germany, is represented by an extensive and relatively shallow submerged landscape with excellent preservation conditions, and further east in the Baltic on the coastlines of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, with offshore conditions similar to those of Germany and Denmark and the likelihood that numerous submerged sites of high scientific value await discovery.
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
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic) 9783030373672
ISBN (Print) 9783030373665
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

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

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  • Early Mesolithic
  • Early Neolithic
  • Ertebølle
  • Marine refuse area
  • Isostatic rebound
  • Excavation


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