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It's the end of a world: the Littorina Transgression (completed)

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Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke

Between 8800 and 7000 BC, a wide land bridge existed in the western part of the present-day Baltic, linking North Central Europe with Scandinavia. This not only created an unhindered communication space but also made possible the expansion northwards of the geographic range for numerous animal species. With the Littorina transgression, this world of forests, streams, lakes and bogs disappeared on the bottom of the sea.

During the 7th millennium BC, fundamental changes took place in the western part of the Baltic. The global increase in sea level eroded the land bridge linking Central Europe and Scandinavia, and soon after 7000 BC the rising sea removed vital barriers. Salt water now streamed between Jutland and Scania towards the south, sculpted the Danish islands and, in about 6400 BC, also reached the lowland area we now know as the Bay of Mecklenburg. The rising sea level then caused widespread destruction of the mixed oak forest and large areas of land subsequently ‘drowned’ beneath the sea.

Littorina transgression

Through archaeological excavations in both Eastern Holstein and on the islands of Poel and Rügen, tens of thousands of animal bones dating from this period of upheaval have been recovered. They are currently being subjected to comprehensive investigation and analysis. The results are expected to provide a detailed picture of the changes in the fauna and landscape which occurred at that time.

The initial results of analyses of the fish bones show that a saline environment did, understandably, evolve with the influx of the sea into the emerging Bay of Mecklenburg. However, the salinity did not – at least in the coastal areas where Stone Age people did their fishing – reach anything like full-marine values.

Salinität und Sediment

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From 17/3/2020 the staff of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology will be mainly working from home due to the Corona crisis. The employees can be reached under the known email addresses.

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In Cooperation with

Dr. Harald Lübke

Dr. Sönke Hartz

Dr. Kenneth Ritchie

Prof. Dr. Dirk Heinrich


Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke
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