New results on the transition from the Magdalenian to the Federmessergruppen in Western Germany
Rapid climate changes within the Late Last Glacial in Western Central Europe strongly influenced the ecosystem and put hunter-gatherer communities under ecological pressure. The relation between changing environments and human behaviour is investigated diachronically by the project “Analysis of Migration Processes due to Environmental Conditions between 40,000 and 14,000 BP in the Rhine-Meuse area” of the CRC 806 “Our way to Europe – Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary”. Present field investigations geographically focus on the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and chronologically concentrate on the partial resettlement of that region after the LGM. Few Late Magdalenian sites (after 15,500 calBP) have been located on the Low Mountain range of the Rhenish Massiv and the southern Lower Rhine embayment, whereas the Westphalian Bay shows no settlement traces so far. One major objective of the project is to find possible explanations for the typical Magdalenian pattern of distinct site concentrations adjoining areas without settlement traces. In this regard, a geoarchaeological approach on a regional scale is applied. Preliminary results argue for a considerably late resettlement of the entire region during the transition period between the Magdalenian and the Federmessergruppen, following a phase of less intense land use. The assemblages show influences by both the Hamburgian and Creswellian and are similar to findings in the neighbouring Netherlands. At the moment, it is believed that these sites date to the beginning of the Late Glacial warming. In order to set up a more reliable chronostratigraphy for this transition period, geoarchives in the surrounding of the sites in North Rhine-Westphalia will be analysed applying sedimentological, geochemical and luminescence methods.
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