CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

Research activities 2020-2024

D2: Third millennium transformations of social and economic practices in the German Lower Mountain Range


Forschungsaktivitäten 2020

October 2020: palynological investigations

Together with subproject F2 , first drillings were made in the surroundings of the Late Neolithic settlement Wittelsberg. The pollen and charred plant remains recovered from these cores provide a basis for research on the vegetation history in the immediate and wider surroundings of the settlement. In addition, further drillings and potential landscape archives were prospected in the wider surroundings of the North Hessian low mountain range and in adjacent Thuringia. 

The eight boreholes near the settlement of Wittelsberg were drilled with both a Pürkhauer (diameter 2 cm ) and a larger Usinger drill (diameter 8 cm) to obtain cores and reached depths of up to 4 m. The drillings provide a multi-layered record of a complex sedimentary history in the floodplains immediately west as well as 1.5 km north of the site.

Map overview WittelsbergFig. 1 General map of the drillings near Wittelsberg Fpl. 7, community Ebsdorfergrund (EPSG 31467).

Summer 2020: Research activity on settlement structures in Wartberg.

Settlement organization, known house types and above all the detailed study of partly insufficiently published findings from older investigations of the 20th century continue to form an essential part to decipher the economic basis in the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. So far, only a few settlements are known for Wartberg and even fewer have been systematically investigated. Especially prominent are the settlement sites on the isolated hills (butte) from the small region around Fritzlar in northern Hesse. 

Photo Landscape
Fig. 2 View from the Güntersberg north of Gudensberg over the Wartberg butte near Kirchberg to the Hasenberg butte near Lohne 

The beginning of the so-called Late Neolithic (SN/LN, 3,500 - 2,800 cal BC) in the low mountain range (MG) is characterized by a massive reduction of the previously known house sizes. This tendency already starts in the preceding Younger Neolithic (JN/YN), even if in individual settlements, e.g. the Michelsberg settlement of Mairy (France), there is still a development towards gigantic large buildings. Starting from the Middle Neolithic (MN), terraces leveled into the slope with houses of about 60 - 80 m² increasingly appear as a new form of construction. In addition, there is an increasing number of pit houses of about 20 m². In the supraregional view, also with the development in the North German Lowland (TL), besides constructive differences also clear regional differences and changes in size over time can be pointed out. Only in the Final Neolithic (EN/FN) and the Early Bronze Age (FBZ/EBA) a large-scale standardization takes place again. 

Grafik HausgrößenFig. 3 Distribution of size of Neolithic house features from the Middle Mountain Region (MG) and the Northern European Lowland (TL).  FN: Early, MN: Middle, JN: Late, SN: Late Neolithic, EN: Final Neolithic, FBZ: Early Bronze Age, related to the Middle German chronology (after Müller et al. 2019, 27, Fig. 1).


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