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Smakkerup Huse

A Late Mesolithic Coastal Site in Northwest Zealand, Denmark

Smakkerup Huse by T. Douglas Price
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Traditionally, the Mesolithic was regarded as a time of cultural regression in northern Europe, relieved only around 4000 BC when the enlightened villagers of the Neolithic arrived on the scene, bringing with them the beginnings of agriculture. But new evidence in the last 30 years has led archaeologists to think of the early postglacial foragers that lived in the Mesolithic as complex, sedentary coastal dwellers who lived in an era of innovation, interaction, and successful adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. The excavations at Smakkerup Huse help to elaborate and evaluate this revised perspective. Although the settlement on land was destroyed by wave erosion, submerged deposits adjacent to the settlement included a midden and a fishing and boat-landing area in excellent condition, with numerous organic materials surviving intact and dating from 5000 to 3900 BC. Deposits included fire-cracked rock, charcoal, oyster shells, amber and teeth pendants, a complete rack of antlers, pieces of dugout canoes and a bow, pointed wooden stakes, large pieces of bark and fungus, thousands of hazelnut shells and fish bones, a fish trap fragment, fishhooks, worked bone and antler tools, potsherds and more than 350 projectile points. The most intriguing artifact was a small painted cobble, a type previously unknown from the Danish Mesolithic. The site also yielded remains from some of the earliest domestic cattle in Denmark, raising important questions about foraging adaptations and the transition to agriculture.
Aarhus University Press; October 2005
288 pages; ISBN 9788779348912
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Title: Smakkerup Huse
Author: T. Douglas Price; Anne Birgitte Gebauer; Signe Ulfeldt Hede; Charlotte Sedlacek Larsen; Sarah Mason