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Man and Environment – Environment and Man

This section consists of clusters that use different methodologies to study the interaction between man and the natural environment of the Baltic Sea region from a historical perspective.

From the Late Glacial reindeer hunters to the farmers of the Early Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture (Trichterbecherkultur) and the Viking Age coastal trading centres, cultural development in this area has also always reflected the history of the aquatic and terrestrial environment. Lebensbild MesolithikumMarked changes in the topography and in the occurrence of animals and plants, in particular, have had a decisive influence on human behaviour. Most important of all were climate changes and their effect on the ecological systems in which people lived. They forced people to adapt, encouraged innovation and could cause social change.Equally important in this section is the opposite perspective: human beings have also always influenced their environment. In the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods this influence had little effect but it gradually increased with the beginning of Neolithic as agriculture changed the landscape. By this time, human beings were deliberately modifying the natural environment by establishing permanent settlements and field systems, by animal husbandry and the keeping of animals for trading or status purposes as well as the selective hunting of large game – either because the species in question were considered a danger to house and farm or because specific hunting traditions had developed.

The aim of this section is to investigate the effects of the prevailing environmental conditions on cultural development and human behaviour in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea area and also to study the social and economic conditions inherent in the interaction between man and his surroundings. Close cooperation between archaeology and the natural sciences is decisive in the first case and between archaeology and the arts and humanities in the second case.

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