Skip to main content
×
×
Home

How fishy was the inland Mesolithic? New data from Friesack, Brandenburg, Germany

  • John Meadows (a1) (a2), Harry K Robson (a1) (a3), Daniel Groß (a1), Charlotte Hegge (a4), Harald Lübke (a1), Ulrich Schmölcke (a1), Thomas Terberger (a5) and Bernhard Gramsch (a6)...
Abstract

Recent studies have shown that faunal assemblages from Mesolithic sites in inland Northern Europe contain more fish remains than previously thought, but the archaeological and archaeozoological record does not reveal the dietary importance of aquatic species to hunter-gatherer-fishers, even at a societal level. For example, the function of bone points, as hunting weapons or fishing equipment, has long been debated. Moreover, traditional methods provide no indication of variable subsistence practices within a population. For these reasons, paleodietary studies using stable isotope analyses of human remains have become routine. We present radiocarbon (14C) and stable isotope data from nine prehistoric human bones from the Early Mesolithic-Early Neolithic site of Friesack 4, and isotopic data for local terrestrial mammals (elk, red deer, roe deer, wild boar, aurochs, beaver) and freshwater fish (European eel, European perch). The reference data allow individual paleodiets to be reconstructed. Using paleodiet estimates of fish consumption, and modern values for local freshwater reservoir effects, we also calibrate human 14C ages taking into account dietary reservoir effects. Although the number of individuals is small, it is possible to infer a decline in the dietary importance of fish from the Preboreal to the Boreal Mesolithic, and an increase in aquatic resource consumption in the Early Neolithic.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: jmeadows@leibniz.uni-kiel.de.
References
Hide All
Benecke, N . 2016. Die Tierreste aus den spätmesolithischen und neolithischen Besiedlungsphasen von Friesack 4. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmal-pflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 117159.
Boethius, A . 2017. Signals of sedentism: Faunal exploitation as evidence of a delayed-return economy at Norje Sunnansund, an Early Mesolithic site in south-eastern Sweden. Quaternary Science Reviews 162:145168.
Boethius, A , Storå, S , Hongslo Vala, C , Apel, J . 2017. The importance of freshwater fish in Early Holocene subsistence: Exemplified with the human colonization of the island of Gotland in the Baltic basin. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 13:625634.
Bollongino, R , Nehlich, O , Richards, MP , Orschiedt, J , Thomas, MG , Sell, C , Fajkošová, Z , Powell, A , Burger, J . 2013. 2000 years of parallel societies in Stone Age Central Europe. Science 342(6157):479481.
Bronk Ramsey, C . 2001. Development of the radiocarbon calibration program. Radiocarbon 43(2A):355363.
Dee, MW , Bronk Ramsey, C . 2014. High-precision Bayesian modeling of samples susceptible to inbuilt age. Radiocarbon 56(1):8394.
DeNiro, MJ . 1985. Postmortem preservation and alteration of in vivo bone collagen isotope ratios in relation to paleodietary reconstruction. Nature 317(6040):806809.
Dörfler, W , Feeser, I , van den Bogaard, C , Dreibrodt, S , Erlenkeuser, H , Kleinmann, A , Merkt, J , Wiethold, J . 2012. A high-quality annually laminated sequence from Lake Belau, Northern Germany: Revised chronology and its implications for palynological and tephrochronological studies. The Holocene 22(12):14131426.
Drucker, DG , Rosendahl, W , Van Neer, W , Weber, M-J , Görner, I , Bocherens, H . 2016. Environment and subsistence in north-western Europe during the Younger Dryas: An isotopic study of the human of Rhünda (Germany). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6:690699.
Fernandes, R , Grootes, P , Nadeau, M-J , Nehlich, O . 2015. Quantitative diet reconstruction of a Neolithic population using a Bayesian mixing model (FRUITS): The case study of Ostorf (Germany). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(2):325340.
Fernandes, R , Millard, AR , Brabec, M , Nadeau, M-J , Grootes, P . 2014. Food Reconstruction Using Isotopic Transferred Signals (FRUITS): A Bayesian model for diet reconstruction. PLOS ONE 9(2):e87436.
Fernandes, R , Nadeau, M-J , Grootes, PM . 2012. Macronutrient-based model for dietary carbon routing in bone collagen and bioapatite. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 4(4):291301.
Fischer, A , Olsen, J , Richards, M , Heinemeier, J , Sveinbjörnsdóttir, ÁE , Bennike, P . 2007a. Coast–inland mobility and diet in the Danish Mesolithic and Neolithic: evidence from stable isotope values of humans and dogs. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(12):21252150.
Fischer, A , Richards, M , Olsen, J , Robinson, DE , Bennike, P , Kubiak‐Martens, L , Heinemeier, J . 2007b. The composition of Mesolithic food. Acta Archaeologica 78(2):163178.
Görsdorf, J , Gramsch, B . 2004. Interpretation of 14C dates of the Mesolithic site of Friesack, Germany. In: Higham T, Bronk Ramsey C, Owen C, editors. Radiocarbon and Archaeology 4th International Symposium, 9–14 April 2002. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology Monograph 62:303–11.
Gramsch, B . 2002. Friesack: Letzte Jäger und Sammler in Brandenburg. Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 47(2000):5196.
Gramsch, B . 2016. Friesack 4 - eine Feuchtbodenstation des Mesolithikums in Norddeutschland. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 924.
Groß, D . 2017. Welt und Umwelt frühmesolithischer Jäger und Sammler. Mensch-Umwelt-Interaktion im Frühholozän in der nordmitteleuropäischen Tiefebene. Kiel: Ludwig.
Grootes, PM , Nadeau, M-J , Rieck, A . 2004. 14C-AMS at the Leibniz-Labor: radiometric dating and isotope research. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 223:5561.
Grünberg, JM . 2000. Mesolithische Bestattungen in Europa. Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Gräberkunde. I: Auswertung; II: Katalog. Internationale Archäologie 40, Rahden/Westfalen.
Hammer, S , Levin, I . 2017. Monthly mean atmospheric Δ14CO2 at Jungfraujoch and Schauinsland from 1986 to 2016. heiDATA Dataverse.
Jahns, S , Gramsch, B , Kloss, K . 2016. Pollenanalytische Untersuchungen am mesolithischen Fundplatz Friesack 4, Lkr. Havelland, nach Unterlagen aus dem Nachlass von Klaus Kloss. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 2544.
Kloss, K . 1987a. Pollenanalysen zur Vegetationsgeschichte, Moorentwicklung und mesolithisch-neolithischen Besiedlung im Unteren Rhinluch bei Friesack, Bezirk Potsdam. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Potsdam 21:101120.
Kloss, K . 1987b. Zur Umwelt mesolithischer Jäger und Sammler im Unteren Rhinluch bei Friesack – Versuch einer Rekonstruktion mit Hilfe von Moorstratigraphie und Pollenanalyse. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Potsdam 21:121130.
Kobusiewicz, M , Kabaciński, J . 1993. Chwalim. Subboreal Hunter-Gatherers of the Polish Plain. Poznań: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences.
Lidén, K , Eriksson, G , Nordqvist, B , Götherström, A , Bendixen, E . 2003. ‘The wet and wild followed by the dry and the tame?’ - or did they occur at the same time? Diet in Mesolithic - Neolithic southern Sweden. Antiquity 78(299):2337.
Litt, T , Brauer, A , Goslar, T , Merkt, J , Bałaga, K , Müller, H , Ralska-Jasiewiczowa, M , Stebich, M , Negendank, JFW . 2001. Correlation and synchronisation of Lateglacial continental sequences in northern central Europe based on annually laminated lacustrine sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews 20(11):12331249.
Meadows, J , Bērziņš, V , Brinker, U , Lübke, H , Schmölcke, U , Staude, A , Zagorska, I , Zariņa, G . 2016. Dietary freshwater reservoir effects and the radiocarbon ages of prehistoric human bones from Zvejnieki, Latvia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6:678689.
Münster, A , Knipper, C , Oelze, VM , Nicklisch, N , Stecher, M , Schlenker, B , Ganslmeier, R , Fragata, M , Friederich, S , Dresely, V , Hubensack, V , Brandt, G , Döhle, H-J , Vach, W , Schwarz, R , Metzner-Nebelsick, C , Meller, H , Alt, KW . 2018. 4000 years of human dietary evolution in central Germany, from the first farmers to the first elites. PLOS ONE 13(3):e0194862.
Nadeau, M-J , Grootes, PM , Schleicher, M , Hasselberg, P , Rieck, A , Bitterling, M . 1998. Sample throughput and data quality at the Leibniz-Labor AMS facility. Radiocarbon 40(1):239245.
Olsen, J , Heinemeier, J , Lübke, H , Lüth, F , Terberger, T . 2010. Dietary habits and freshwater reservoir effects in bones from a Neolithic NE German cemetery. Radiocarbon 52(2):635644.
Robson, HK . 2016. New ichthyoarchaeological data from the Mesolithic lakeshore settlement site of Friesack 4. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 160177.
Schmölcke, U . 2016. Die Säugetierfunde vom präboreal- und borealzeitlichen Fundplatz Friesack 4 in Brandenburg. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmal-pflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 45116.
Schneider, M . 1932. Die Urkeramiker. Entstehung eines mesolithischen Volkes und seiner Kultur. Leipzig: Kabitzsch.
Scholz, E . 1962. Die naturräumliche Gliederung Brandenburgs. Potsdam: Pädag. Bezirkskabinett.
Speth, JD , Spielmann, KA . 1983. Energy source, protein metabolism, and hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 2(1):131.
Stuiver, M , Polach, HA . 1977. Discussion reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):355363.
Szpak, P . 2011. Fish bone chemistry and ultrastructure: implications for taphonomy and stable isotope analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:33583372.
Terberger, T , Gramsch, B , Heinemeier, J . 2012. The underestimated fish? – Early Mesolithic human remains from Northern Germany. In: Niekus MJLT, Barton RNE, Street M, Terberger T, editors. A Mind Set on Flint. Studies in Honour of Dick Stapert. Groningen University Library. p 343354.
Terberger, T , Kotula, A , Lorenz, S , Schult, M , Burger, J , Jungklaus, B . 2015. Standing upright to all eternity – the Mesolithic burial site at Groß Fredenwalde, Brandenburg (NE Germany). Quartär 65:133153.
Ullrich, H , Gramsch, B . 2015. Menschliche Skelettreste und Schmuckzahne vom mesolithischen Moorfundplatz Friesack in Brandenburg. Anthropologie LIII(1-2):315327.
van der Plicht, J , Amkreutz, LWSW , Niekus, MJLT , Peeters, JHM , Smit, BI . 2016. Surf’n Turf in Doggerland: Dating, stable isotopes and diet of Mesolithic human remains from the southern North Sea. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10:110118.
Wenzel, S . 2002. Mesolithische Lagerplatzstrukturen am Moorfundplatz Friesack 4 Lkr. Havelland. Greifswalder Geographische Arbeiten 26:207210.
Wolters, S . 2016. Die pflanzlichen Makroreste der Mesolithstation Friesack. In: Benecke, et al., editors. Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmal-pflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum. p 189203.
Zoppi, U , Crye, J , Song, Q , Arjomand, A . 2007. Performance evaluation of the new AMS system at Accium Biosciences. Radiocarbon 49(1):173182.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Radiocarbon
  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Meadows et al. supplementary material
Appendix 1

 Word (21 KB)
21 KB
WORD
Supplementary materials

Meadows et al. supplementary material
Appendix 2

 Word (23 KB)
23 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed