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Thread: Paleolithic Sea Levels and the Geography of Denmark and Sweden

  1. #1

    Paleolithic Sea Levels and the Geography of Denmark and Sweden

    I'm looking for a map or maps of sea levels around Denmark and Sweden after the Last Glacial Maximum.

    I'm especially interested in maps showing previously settled areas, or areas that are believed to have been settled by humans, that are now underwater.

    I'm also interested in any known or hypothesized major human migrations between Upper Paleolithic Denmark and Sweden.

    I suppose all these questions would apply for the Neolithic as well.

    Thanks for your input/expertise!

  2. #2
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    Well most of what I could find is too general, but I hope this helps to get you started.

    How does the health/longevity of late Paleolithic hunters-gatherers compare with that of the Neolithic farmers who succeeded them? Periodically one will hear it stated in online discussion forums devoted to raw foods and vegetarianism that Paleolithic peoples only lived to be 25 (or 30, or 35) years, or whatever age. (The lack of exactitude in such figures illustrates how substantiating one's "scientific facts" is not usually a very highly emphasized value in these forums.) The intended point usually being that those terribly debauched flesh-eating cavemen--and women, presumably--were not living very long due to their consumption of meat.
    As is often the case with such "facts," however, if one looks at the documented sources, one sees a different picture. Here we present a summary of a classic paper on the health and longevity of late Paleolithic (pre-agricultural) and Neolithic (early agricultural) people. [Source: Angel, Lawrence J. (1984) "Health as a crucial factor in the changes from hunting to developed farming in the eastern Mediterranean." In: Cohen, Mark N.; Armelagos, George J. (eds.) (1984) Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (proceedings of a conference held in 1982). Orlando: Academic Press. (pp. 51-73)]

    Note that these figures come from studies in the field of "paleopathology" (investigation of health, disease, and death from archaeological study of skeletons) of remains in the eastern Mediterranean (defined in Angel's paper to also include Greece and western Turkey), an area where a more continuous data sample is available from ancient times. Due to the unavoidable spottiness of the archaeological record in general, however, samples from the Balkans, the Ukraine, North Africa, and Israel were included for the earliest (Paleolithic and Mesolithic) periods. While the populations in the region were not always directly descended from one another, focusing the study within the eastern Mediterranean minimizes bias in the data due to genetic change over time.
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    During final Pleistocene, global sea levels were at least 100 meters lower than today due to lower temperatures and accumulation of ice in polar icecaps. The landscape around Vela Cave was very different from what it is today. Western half of the Adriatic was a large plain, and the closest seashore was kilometers away between Korcula and Lastovo. Mouth of Paleo-Neretva River was between Korcula and Vis, while farther to the west the wide Paleo-Po River emptied into the Adriatic. Climate was harsher than today, providing very favorable conditions for large herds of ungulates and large ruminants. At the time, Vela cave was occupied by a group of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, proficient in big game hunting.
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    We don't know a lot about those Upper Paleolithic hunters who first ventured out across the northern steppes, but it is clear that they were great pioneers, boldly going where no modern human had ever gone before. The steppes were full of game and represented a great opportunity, but they were also cold and treacherous, and the people who settled there must have had to innovate like mad to keep pace with their risky new lifestyle.
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    During several periods, Scandinavia has been covered by inland ice. The most recent Ice Age ended only about 10,000 years ago. The weight and movement of the ice sheet altered the landscape. The hard cliffs of primary rock were polished into the rounded shapes characteristic of Sweden’s archipelagoes. Hollows were deepened into valleys and lakes. Gravel, boulders, sand and clay created irregular moraine strata. Glacial rivers polished and rounded the stones and bits of gravel that were deposited in glacial estuaries and gravel ridges. These sandy ridges served for a long time as transportation routes in the humid lowlands, and the ridges were later important as sand pits. Finely ground material that sank slowly to the sea bottom outside the ice cap now forms the fertile clays of the central plains.

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    Last edited by frippardthree; Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Fixing Web-Link

  3. #3

    Thank you!

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