LOST 2021 – A Stone Age Conference 

On the topic of 

Neolithisation – change and continuity in the Western Baltic  

 

Why host a conference on the topic of neolithisation in the Western Baltic region?  

Prior to the construction of a fixed link between the isle of Fehmarn in Germany and Lolland in Denmark, a major rescue excavation was undertaken by archaeologists from Museum Lolland-Falster in 2013 and is still ongoingThe Fehmarn-excavations are the largest Stone Age Excavation to date in Denmark. 

Following the lengthy excavation phase in the Syltholm Fjord, lasting from 2013-2019, Museum Lolland-Falster would like to mark the transition to the upcoming research phase of the project, which is expected to begin in 2020. Thus, the conference is meant to be an inspirational platform for future research, network expansion and new contacts within the research fields surrounding this topic. 

A major part of these excavations has been focused on a rebound area which until the late 19th century was a shallow inlet. Beneath thick layers of sand, a complete landscape, inundated since the Stone Age, was uncovered. The excavations pertaining to the former inlet are now finished and have resulted in thousands of archaeological artefacts and data, now ready for the next step. The chronological frame for the material is wide, but the majority of finds belongs to the transitional period between the Mesolithic Ertebølle Culture and the Early Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture (app. 4500 – 3500 BC), giving us a great opportunity to study this enigmatic period of our prehistory. 

The huge number of archaeological artefacts found, as well as the fantastic preservation conditions for organic material, means that the Syltholm material will be a part of the neolithisation debate in many different research fields in the coming years.   

With this as a backdrop, the conference will focus on questions concerning this time periodallowing us to have a closer look at the neolithisation from different research perspectives, through mutual inspiration, networking and cooperation with both Danish and foreign colleagues. 

The goal being to elucidate the neolithisation and the issues therein, highlighting both what changed during the transition from a subsistence economy typical for hunter/gatherer communities to a subsistence economy based primarily on farming, and what continued unaffected by the transition. Although several indicators imply some level of immigration during the time of the neolithisation of Denmark, tests such as DNA analysis are done at the individual level, and therefore cannot say as much about the extent of possible immigration. Thus, it can be a valuable addition to look at the scope and nature of changes taking place within the material culture and the technologies used – likewise within the intangible world. Findings may indicate the extent of any changes and by extension the scope of any possible immigration. 

The main topic of the conference will be divided into theme-based sessions, all dealing with the concepts of continuity and changes in the transitional phasedescribed through varying materials or practices.  

It is our hope that each contributor during his/her presentation will reflect on the concepts of changes and/or continuity taking place across the traditional datei given for the transition from a society based on hunting/gathering/fishing to a society based on farming and husbandry within each theme.