Mesolithic Denmark and southern Sweden
A research project of the Department of Archaeology.
This project, undertaken by Dr. Peter Rowley-Conwy, is using zooarchaeology to examine hunter-gatherer settlement systems, and through them other aspects of Mesolithic society, in order to examine socio-economic change through time. The Early Mesolithic (Maglemose) settlements are placed in their landscape contexts, and short summer occupation is confirmed. There is no indication of a ‘delayed return’ economy, though nine months of the Maglemose year are unknown to archaeology; if this was spent on the sea shore, delayed return practices might have been present. The Middle Mesolithic (Kongemose) period saw rapid sea level rise, bringing marine resources much closer. Delayed return attributes such as large fish traps, cemeteries, and large settlements, all appear. Late Mesolithic (Ertebølle) settlements in Jutland were often coastal and permanently occupied, while those in eastern Denmark and southern Sweden may have been seasonal. Socio-economic change was conditioned by resource change, not by progressive social development.