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3. Höör 2013

The third meeting of the Stone Age Bog Group network was held at Holma in central Scania, the southernmost county of Sweden, on August 30-31. Holma, a manor with medieval origins, was once located on an island, but is now surrounded by extensive pastureland. The only inconvenience for some was the mooing of cows early in the morning.

More than twenty colleagues from eight countries met up on August 30. This day was filled with presentations. The day started with a presentation about the rapid destruction by dredging, peat extraction and agriculture in northern Germany. This unpleasant view of the rapid destruction of wetlands seems to be a common situation throughout most of Northern Europe. If this process continues for a couple of decades there will not be much for our future colleagues to work with. Russia was the best-represented country at the meeting. Our Russian colleagues presented excellent sites both from the Mesolithic and the Neolithic in the western part of the country and Urals. The preservation conditions allow wooden artefacts such as fish traps and woven mats to be preserved. In some cases house-floors with artefacts are well preserved. The excellent preservation of bone material is evident, with 100 million (!!!) fish bones at Zamostje 2, for example.

Vladimir Lozovski is lecturing.

A combination of geophysical prospection and test pit excavation has provided a number of new settlement sites in the well-known area of Sventoji in Lithuania. This method seems to be suitable for finding new sites. A considerable number of fish traps, some at least similar to those presented from Russia, have been found in Finland and dated to the Neolithic. Similar traps were still used into the twentieth century in Eastern Europe, which makes it almost impossible to date them without using the radiocarbon method.A large number of tools, especially antler axes dated to the Mesolithic, have been found in a river in western Latvia, close to the seacoast. They seem to originate from a settlement site that has turned out to be very difficult to detect. This find also proves the important role of enthusiastic amateurs in finding sites in wetlands.The lakes in Ireland have not only artificial islands formed during the late Iron Age, but Mesolithic sites as well. One of these was presented, exhibiting a very complicated stratigraphy consisting of six different layers with a variety of different material remains.

Olga Lozovskaya, one of the lucky finder of a leister point in the bog Rönneholms mosse.


The second day was devoted to an excursion to bog settlement sites. The bog Viss mosse was visited in the morning. Peat extraction is in full progress. Within the bog a small rise with a lot of stones formed an island in the Mesolithic lake. Small sites dated to the Maglemose Culture have been documented and excavation was carried out last year as well as this year. In the afternoon we drove to Rönneholms mosse, a part of the former Lake Ringsjön that filled up during the Mesolithic. The PECO extraction method has been in progress for several years and a four-metre-thick layer of sphagnum peat has been removed. Since the late 1990s peat deposited during the Mesolithic has been extracted. Sites of the ‘ordinary’ bog site type as well as a large number of very small sites, usually only covering a couple of square metres, have been recorded. In some parts of the bog peat extraction has reached a lime layer. Leister points and slotted bone points caught in the bottom during fish-spearing have been found in that layer and in the gyttja immediately above. The group was lucky. In the course of a survey lasting about an hour five leister points were found and documented.

Participants of the StoneAgeBog group meeting at Holma, August 2013 (from top left to bottom right: Vladimir Lozovski, Gytis Piličiauskas, Lars Larsson, Mikhail Zhilin, Daniel Groß, Björn Nilsson, Harald Lübke, Gytis Piličiauskas, Svetlana Savchenko, Vibeke Juul Pedersen, Frederik Hallgren, Olga Lozovskaya, Karina Hammarstrand Dehman, Christina Fredengren, Catherine JessenTony Brown, Claudio Casati, Pernille Pantmann, Lone Ritchie Andersen, Arne Sjöström, Satu Koivisto, Ekaterina Dolbunova).

A combination of geophysical prospection and test pit excavation has provided a number of new settlement sites in the well-known area of Sventoji in Lithuania. This method seems to be suitable for finding new sites. A considerable number of fish traps, some at least similar to those presented from Russia, have been found in Finland and dated to the Neolithic. Similar traps were still used into the twentieth century in Eastern Europe, which makes it almost impossible to date them without using the radiocarbon method. A large number of tools, especially antler axes dated to the Mesolithic, have been found in a river in western Latvia, close to the seacoast. They seem to originate from a settlement site that has turned out to be very difficult to detect. This find also proves the important role of enthusiastic amateurs in finding sites in wetlands. The lakes in Ireland have not only artificial islands formed during the late Iron Age, but Mesolithic sites as well. One of these was presented, exhibiting a very complicated stratigraphy consisting of six different layers with a variety of different material remains.

Visitors to the bog Viss mosse.

In northern Zealand the construction of a large hospital will cover former wetland areas. This causes serious problems for rescue archaeologists, as special restrictions concerning environmental impact limit the methods of survey. Unfortunately no-one was able to come up with a good solution for finding the sites.Within a rather small area in the same region of Denmark, parts of two small bogs close to one another have been excavated. These proved to contain different kinds of material: ‘ordinary’ refuse from a short-lived Neolithic settlement in one case, and skull parts of animals from the Neolithic to the Iron Age in the other case. The last presentation was an introduction for the next day’s excursion. Excavation of wetland sites at Lake Ringsjön, central Scania, has been carried out since the late nineteenth century. What was formerly a large part of the lake filled up with organic matter during the Mesolithic. Several sites along the former shores as well as in the present bog were excavated in the 1940s, 1970s and since the late 1990s. After dinner a number of themes were discussed. There is a need for more information about projects and excavation of wetland sites throughout Europe. It might be possible to find a common basis for this purpose. We could start by sending out a questionnaire to the members of the Stone Age Bog Group.The possibilities of forming a project involving several colleagues and nations with aims relating to wetland settlement were also debated. We need more meetings in order to formulate a major application of this kind. One possibility would be a third group meeting in Copenhagen or York next year, when not only site presentations, but also themes relating to methods and common aims for project formation and applications could be of interest. Another opportunity could be to gather for a session of common interest at the UISPP-meeting at Burgos in Spain.

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