CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

C1: Neolithic Transformations on the Northern and Central European Plain


Map of western Baltikum with marked research areasFig. 1. In the second phase, the Danish islands, the Polish lowlands and the north-west German wetlands will be included in order to compare the intensively studied regions of phase 1 structurally with other developments.

In Phase 2, we want to take advantage of the abundance of rich archaeological and environmental archives that address late foragers, early horticulturalists and agriculturalists in the northern European Plain and South Scandinavia, and take a diachronic, comparable approach within the 12-year perspective of the CRC 1266. From Late Mesolithic to Late Neolithic records, especially around 3100 BCE, 2800 BCE and 2200 BCE, several marked transformations are discussed on divergent spatial and chronological scales. During phase 1 of CRC 1266, we focused on the transformations from 3100-2800 BCE. In contrast to research before the CRC 1266, new socio-environmental patterns of transformation became visible: The identification of a phase of disintegrated identities between Middle and Younger Neolithic societies now enables us to pinpoint Store Valby/Schönhagen as a transformation phase of approximately 200 years. Responses vary from disperse, small-scale groups with foraging and pastural elements in the western regions and the development of agglomerated mega-sites within the Central Western Baltic to the installation of new ritual foci like palisade enclosures in eastern regions.

In contrast to the originally planned widening of the chronological frame, pattern recognition has to be elongated in spatial terms. The qualitative differences between different regions within the transformation phase Store Valby/Schönhagen make it necessary to expand spatial pattern recognition to Southern Scandinavia, North-western Germany and Central Poland. Thus, based on the results of the first phase of the CRC 1266, the C1 subproject continues to focus on reconstructing these changes and social dynamics in Northern Central Europe and Southern Scandinavia and comparing these social aspects with environmental data.

Thus, it is planned to conduct research within regions of the Baltic and the Northern European Plain. Because of the existence of high-quality archives in those regions, information about human and environmental development in the 3rd millennium BCE can be provided. As research on settlements, settlement systems, and the environment is currently almost completely absent, the focus will again be placed on site localisation and examination through prospections, excavations, and palaeo-ecological investigations. Consequently, the focus of the research agenda is concerned with interdisciplinary research in micro-regions of the Northern European Plain which are partly preserved in the form of water-logged conditions. Furthermore, large-scale studies combine the micro-regions and the collaborative research outcomes from other projects in order to develop large-scale transformation models for the 3rd millennium BCE of the Northern European Plain and Southern Scandinavia and therefore for the transformation conception of the whole CRC 1266. Adding to the first phase, the second phase will broaden the geographical horizon in the three particular zones of development (Southwest Cimbrian Peninsula and Northwestern Germany, the western Danish Isles, and the Southeast Baltic) and integrate the eastern areas of North Central Europe.

With such an approach, it will be possible to structurally compare the deeply researched regions of West-Mecklenburg and especially East-Holstein (CRC 1266, phase 1) to other developments. Additionally, spatial-temporal transformation patterns will be analysed in regards to their consequences for the Northern European Plain during both the later Younger Neolithic around 2800 BCE and the Late Neolithic around 2200 BCE.


Research activities 2020-2024

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