A mid-Holocene annually laminated sediment sequence from Lake Woserin: The role of climate and environmental change for cultural development during the Neolithic in Northern Germany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Annually laminated sediments of Lake Woserin in north-eastern Germany are investigated using sedimentological and palynological methods. They facilitate high-resolution reconstruction of environmental and land-use change during ca. 7000–4000 cal. BP. Between 6100 and 5800 cal. BP, changes in woodland composition and structure are evident which coincide with a change in subsistence strategy, that is, the adoption of animal husbandry. For the remaining period, eight phases of enhanced human impact (5750–5390, 5270–5150, 4890–4750, 4670–4600, 4520–4450, 4390–4350, 4250–4170 and 4070–3930 cal. BP) are identified. Hereby, the first phase relates to an opening of the landscape in connection with the adoption of large-scale, extensive cereal cultivation. Phases of decreased human impact are generally characterised by woodland regeneration. Over-regional comparison of the results reveals similar and synchronous fluctuation of human impact in the young moraine area of the south-western Baltic region and hints at a large-scale driver. In order to evaluate the role of environmental change for human activity, evidence for coinciding shifts in palaeoclimate records and their potential implication for human–environment interactions are discussed and generally support the idea that environmental changes played an important role for the cultural development during the Neolithic in Northern Germany. Hereby, climate change probably favoured the adoption of new subsistence strategies during the early Neolithic (6100–5350 cal. BP). Furthermore, the fluctuating human impact during Middle and Younger Neolithic (5350–4100 cal. BP) could indicate a socio-economic system susceptible for short-termed climatic fluctuation.


  • Ingo Feeser
  • Walter Dörfler
  • Markus Czymzik
  • Stefan Dreibrodt
External organisations
  • University of Kiel
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


  • annually laminated sediments, Funnel Beaker Culture, human–environment interaction, land-use history, Neolithic, Northern Germany, pollen analyses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-963
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun
Publication categoryResearch