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Changes in the fauna at Jäckelberg (completed)

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Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke

Of all the Mesolithic sites investigated within the framework of the SINCOS project on the sea bed of Wismar Bay, Jäckelberg-Huk, with a period of occupation extending from c. 6400 to 6000 BC, is the earliest. More than 2000 excellently preserved remains of vertebrates have been recovered, originating from 17 different species. Each species has its own habitat requirements and these can be used as environmental indicators. In combination with the results of sediment and side-scan analyses, it is then possible to reconstruct the surrounding landscape, in particular the aqueous environment. Of the fish remains, 99.8% represent freshwater or migratory species that lived in a stream which is evident from geological evidence on the floor of the present Baltic Sea and which flowed into a lake close to the site of the settlement. According to the indications given by the fish species, these waters must have been rich in vegetation and with soft river bed. At the same time, they were not extensive or deep enough to provide a habitat for otherwise frequently occurring otters or beavers. The numerous remains of water voles also suggest an altogether damp settlement environment.

Tauchgang am Jäckelberg

The most interesting vertebrate finds from Jäckelberg-Huk are two remains of seal, namely a molar from a juvenile grey seal and a fragment of scapula. They indicate the relative proximity of the advancing (i.e. transgressing) Baltic Sea to the settlement site. This conclusion also corresponds with the results of the sediment analyses. According to the latter, the earliest marine sediments on the floor of the central Mecklenburg Bay are 8300-8400 years old. According to geological modelling, the formation of the Wismar Bay could have taken place in a time after 8000 BP. By taking the reservoir effect into account, an age of around 7800 years (7140 BP; KIA-26398) could be established for the seal scapula from Jäckelberg-Huk. Consequently, this is the oldest evidence of the young Baltic Sea in the German coastal region.

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