View Full Version : Mesolithic Netherlands (a concise overview)

Saturday, November 12th, 2005, 12:04 PM
During the Preboreal(8000BC)the living conditions began to improve drastically: the permafrost thawed, the density and area of birches increased and especially the fir-trees came in expansion, while many lands were transformed in inpenetrable moorlands and bogs, the latter because that the plains bridging England and the low Country became partially overflooded;meanwhile the disappearance of the artic fauna to northern lands give way to a more diversified animal resource.

In the Lower Countries four deposits of human occupations are well-described: Stegerveld in Overijssel, Ter Horst in Drenthe, thus north of the Rhine and Maas, finally Zonhoven in West-Limburg and Chaleux in Namur. These artefacts are show a relationships to similar ensembles in Niedersachsen,
Westphalen and Hannover.
The Stegerveld station is dated on ca.7410BC and indicates the earliest
mesolithic in the Netherlands. The artefacts consist of asymmetric points withone side emphatically laborated in a slanted, steep way; short and thin asymmetric flakes ("klingen") with retouches only on the top, still just on one side; a considerable presence of big, irregular and triangular flakes.

In the middle of the 7th millenium till the middle of the 6th
millenium the LC experience a dryer period (the Boreal) and the
temperate rise to a main average in the Summer of 16°C(was 12°C
previously), the climate was however more continental than
today.Tundra changed in woodland.
Oak,ash tree,lime tree and the hazel appear succesfully; in new
woodlands several species of wild life(beaver, aurochs, boar, elk...)
find a habitat.

Meanwhile se leavels were on the rise causing the seperation of Britain from
the mainland. Despite the jolted life conditions and consternating fractures in tribal cohesion after the flooding, the mesolithic people did well in adaptation and were able to create a stable culture, prospering given the flourishing democraphic growth.

West, Northwest and North Europe was divided in two mayor cultural
provinces: the macrolithic and microlithic industrial cultures.
The macrolithic culture bears the name "Nordwesteuropaeische
Kernbeilkreis" or Maglemose Kultur and was spread from England to the
North European Plain and describing West Poland with offshoots in
south norway and Central Schweden.

In some respects departing from Maglemose the Kunda culture in
Estonia and Duvensee culture in Holstein are related with this mighty
motherculture,illustrating the adaptability to an new woodland
environment, evidence is demonstrated in the heavy tools for wood-
South of the macrolithic province borders the microlithic province,
stretching from the Weser to France,called the Tardenoisien(after La
Fère-en-Tardenois, Aisne, Fr.)and gathers 3 different groups:
1.the Northwestern Group("Noordnederlands Boreaal"):follows the Rhine
and Ruhr due south,the Ijssel marking its most western extension and
claiming the east with the Weser and the Aller as natural limits.
2.Huelstener Gruppe/Rhine Bassin Group/"Zuidnederlands
Boreaal":Gelderland, Utrecht,Noord-brabant,Nederlands-Limburg, whole
Belgium and adjectant regions of Germany.
3."Tardenoisien moyen" in the parisian Bassin and North France.

The Huelstener Gruppe is very rich in its microlithic instrumentarium.
Already before 6500BC points shaped as a symmetrical triangle with
either straight or hollow base are emerging, being retouched on both
sides,"feuille de gui" points(mistletoe points:double points with
generalized retouches) leaf-like flakes, all kind of triangulars
and "high and less broad"squares, long scrapers and lancet points
characterisize an developed sense for craftmanship.

the final stages of the mesolithicum last from 5500BC till 3000BC and
occur during the climatic period of the Atlanticum, when the air
became more humid and the main average temperature in the winter and
summer mounted severly up,causing to rise the sea level, increasing
also the water-line in the soil, through which woodland became
incessantly flooded and creating thereby more moorlands and bog
areas.From the coasts of western holland to belgium stretched a tidal
marsh region with many lagoons and fen-areas.
Firs became outnumbered in the higher situated plains where dense foliage woods were in full expansion(alders, oaks as well the mistletoe).

Lakes dried up and the woods grew more dense and darkly inpenetrable
making it for fish and games inhospitable.
Some northern mesolithic populations moved out due south,though elsewhere people were reassembling themselves behind shore walls and working out a more sedentary life style, less disposed to mainly foraging; they went now for more extensive fishing, collecting shell-fish and seal hunt.
The Maglemose people were typical beach dwellers/combers as their equipments is very telling in this regard: barbs, fastened in wooden or bonyshafts, oars, fish hooks(barbed or not), fishing nets and fir-wooden
floats, barbed points with one or two jaddes edges, points with
embedded hook and biforkated spearheads.
Settlements were erected in the proximity of lakes, moors and rivers, but left in the Winter.

The Oldesloe culture was one of these migrationist cultures during the
sea-transgression and while wandering south they absorbed Maglemose
elements and its poorer derivation, the Duvensee culture, speading
from the Weser to the Netherlands, concentrated in the valleys of the Maas, settling always near rivers or lakes, keeping far off the sandy Veluwe(holland) and the Flemish Kempen.
They made use of the local outcrops of fireflints, but didn't put up a
systematic mining industry.
The autochtone population were apparently driven away to the hill lands of the Ardennen(Luxemburg).