Reconsidering the geochronological framework of Lateglacial hunter-gatherer colonization of southern Scandinavia

Berit Valentin Eriksen


The author contributes a southern Scandinavian perspective to the ongoing debate on Lateglacial human colonization of northern Europe. The discussion concentrates on two primary issues: (1) the need for a reliable correlation of the relative archaeological and absolute geochronological frameworks for the Lateglacial, and (2) the question of the timing and nature of colonization in relation to the environmental preconditions in southern Scandinavia. It is argued that the 1974 chronostratigraphic framework (defined by Mangerud et al. 1974) no longer presents an optimal geochronological frame of reference for archaeological sites. It may be used for a rough comparison of the relative archaeological contemporaneity of cultures and technocomplexes on a regional scale. However, for a more detailed investigation of exact relationships, i.e. an actual contemporaneity or co-existence of specific entities, culture groups or even sites, it is not satisfactory. In the present contribution, a brief presentation of the Lateglacial event stratigraphy defined by the INTIMATE group (Björck et al. 1998) and available geochronological observations from Late Palaeolithic sites thus forms the basis for a discussion of the need to reconsider the timing and nature of Lateglacial hunter-gatherer colonization of southern Scandinavia.