Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege

Hannover, Germany

Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege

Hannover, Germany
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Lang J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Bohner U.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege | Polom U.,Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics | Serangeli J.,University of Tübingen | Winsemann J.,Leibniz University of Hanover
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2015

Schöningen represents one of the key sites for Lower Paleolithic archaeology in central Europe, where a Middle to Late Pleistocene sedimentary succession, locally up to 45m thick, has been preserved in an Elsterian tunnel valley. After deglaciation, the tunnel valley remained underfilled and provided the accommodation space for Holsteinian interglacial deposition and also kept the artifact-bearing strata below base level for subsequent erosion. The Holsteinian (MIS 9) succession consists of laterally and vertically stacked lacustrine delta systems, which were controlled by repeated lake-level changes. In the face of changing climatic and environmental conditions the long-lived interglacial lake provided an attractive site for animals and early humans. Artifacts were deposited on the subaerial delta plain and became embedded during lake-level rise. Although the area was considerably affected by erosion and glacitectonic deformation during the subsequent Saalian glaciation, the artifact-bearing Holsteinian strata were preserved in the deeper part of the tunnel valley.Tunnel valleys should be regarded as potential archives for interglacial deposits, which may contain important Paleolithic sites. Tunnel valleys may provide accommodation space and also have a high preservation potential. Interglacial lakes situated within underfilled tunnel valleys represented attractive sites for animals and early human hunter-gatherers. © 2015.


Serangeli J.,University of Tübingen | Bohner U.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege | van Kolfschoten T.,Leiden University | Conard N.J.,University of Tübingen | Conard N.J.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2015

Archaeological finds including spears, other wooden artifacts, lithic artifacts, and bones with impact scars and cut marks document the repeated presence of hominins on the shoreline of an approximately 300,000 year old lake near Schöningen in Northern Germany. Continuing excavations have uncovered in the locality "Schöningen" at least 20 sites dating to the late Lower Paleolithic. Schöningen is therefore not only a singular archaeological site with remarkable finds; it is a vast locality that preserves a multifaceted archaeological landscape with numerous sites.Ongoing excavations have exposed several large surfaces with organic materials dating to MIS 9. In particular, recent excavations have uncovered new sections belonging to the original Spear Horizon from Schöningen 13 II-4 (the Horse Butchery Site).Current research in Schöningen places the exceptional artifacts within a spatial and environmental context, and provides a wealth of new information on the subsistence strategies and settlement dynamics of the inhabitants of these short-term lakeside occupations.Schöningen, with an overall excavated area of 9400 m2, is one of the largest excavated archaeological localities from MIS 9. Here we present a summary of all the sites, as well as the most relevant excavated areas since 2008 (excavations Tübingen/NLD). © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Conard N.J.,University of Tübingen | Conard N.J.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology | Serangeli J.,University of Tübingen | Bohner U.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2015

The exceptional preservation at Schöningen together with a mixture of perseverance, hard work, and sheer luck led to the recovery of unique finds in an exceptional context. The 1995 discovery of numerous wooden artifacts, most notably at least 10 carefully made spears together with the skeletons of at least 20 to 25 butchered horses, brought the debate about hunting versus scavenging among late archaic hominins and analogous arguments about the purportedly primitive behavior of Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals to an end. Work under H. Thieme's lead from 1992 to 2008 and results from the current team since 2008 demonstrate that late H. heidelbergensis or early Neanderthals used sophisticated artifacts made from floral and faunal materials, in addition to lithic artifacts more typically recovered at Lower Paleolithic sites. The finds from the famous Horse Butchery Site and two dozen other archeological horizons from the edges of the open-cast mine at Schöningen provide many new insights into the technology and behavioral patterns of hominins about 300 ka BP during MIS 9 on the Northern European Plain. An analysis of the finds from Schöningen and their contexts shows that the inhabitants of the site were skilled hunters at the top of the food chain and exhibited a high level of planning depth. These hominins had command of effective means of communication about the here and now, and the past and the future, that allowed them to repeatedly execute well-coordinated and successful group activities that likely culminated in a division of labor and social and economic patterns radically different from those of all non-human primates. The unique preservation and high quality excavations have led to a major paradigm shift or "Schöningen Effect" that changed our views of human evolution during the late Lower Paleolithic. In this respect, we can view the behaviors documented at Schöningen as a plausible baseline for the behavioral sophistication of archaic hominins of the late Middle Pleistocene and subsequent periods. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Lang J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Winsemann J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Steinmetz D.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Polom U.,Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics | And 6 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2012

The Pleistocene deposits of Schöningen represent an outstanding geological and archaeological archive, where an up to 45 m thick Middle to Late Pleistocene succession has been preserved and unique artefacts from the Lower Palaeolithic have been discovered. The preservation of such a thick and complete glacial/interglacial succession is very rare in the geological record and requires a specific depositional setting. We will present a new depositional model for the Pleistocene succession of Schöningen, integrating outcrop data, borehole data and high-resolution shear wave seismics. A total of four outcrop sections and 744 borehole logs were examined to document the complex facies architecture. All collected sedimentological and geophysical data sets were integrated into a high-resolution 3D geological model (GOCAD®) for reconstructing the spatial distribution of facies associations and the large-scale depositional architecture. The spatial distribution of the artefacts will be discussed with respect to the depositional environment.The Elsterian and Holsteinian deposits are restricted to a NNW-SSE trending, elongated trough, which is deeply incised into unconsolidated lignite-bearing Palaeogene deposits. The geometry of this erosional structure points to a tunnel valley origin that was incised below the Elsterian ice sheet. The basal tunnel valley fill consists of cross-stratified pebbly sand and gravel overlain by till. After deglaciation the tunnel valley remained underfilled and acted as a depocentre for interglacial deposition. During the subsequent Holsteinian interglacial (MIS 9) a lake formed within this depocentre and lacustrine sediments accumulated. This interglacial succession consists of peat, organic-rich silt and fine-grained sand interpreted as lake-bottom and deltaic sediments fed by surface run-off shed from the Elm ridge. The lacustrine deposition was controlled by repeated lake-level fluctuations in the range of 1-6 m leading to the formation of laterally stacked delta systems. These lake-level changes were probably triggered by climate, causing variations of precipitation and surface run-off. During the late Saalian glaciation the remnant tunnel valley was completely filled with meltwater deposits. The sedimentary facies and depositional architecture point to a shallow-water delta. Subsequently the meltwater deposits were overlain by till.The deposition of the Middle Pleistocene sediments within an Elsterian tunnel valley explains the unique preservation of the sedimentary succession of Schöningen. The long-lived interglacial lake provided an attractive site for animals and early humans ambushing them. Artefacts mainly became embedded on the delta plain, which rapidly was transgressed during lake-level rise and artefacts were thus preserved. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Winsemann J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Lang J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Roskosch J.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Polom U.,Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2015

In glaciated continental basins accommodation space is not only controlled by tectonics and sea-level but also by the position of ice-sheets, which may act as a regional base-level for fluvial systems. Although the Pleistocene terrace record of major river systems in northwestern Europe has been investigated by many authors, relatively little attention has been paid to base-level changes related to glacier advance-retreat cycles and how these regional changes in base-level interacted with river catchment processes. This study provides a synthesis of the stratigraphic architecture of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene fluvial terraces in the upper Weser and middle Leine valley in northern Germany and links it to glaciation, climate and base-level change. The depositional architecture of the fluvial terrace deposits has been reconstructed from outcrops and high-resolution shear wave seismic profiles. The chronology is based on luminescence ages, 230Th/U ages, 14C ages and Middle Palaeolithic archaeological assemblages.The drainage system of the study area developed during the Early Miocene. During the Pleistocene up to 170m of fluvial incision took place. A major change in terrace style from strath terraces to cut-and-fill terraces occurred during the early Middle Pleistocene before Marine Isotope Stage MIS 12, which may correlate with climate deterioration and the onset of glaciation in northern central Europe. During this time a stable buffer zone was established within which channels avulsed and cut and filled freely without leaving these vertical confines. Climate was the dominant driver for river incision and aggradation, whereas the terrace style was controlled by base-level changes during ice-sheet growth and decay. A major effect of glacio-isostatic processes was the post-Elsterian re-direction of the River Weser and River Leine.The Middle Pleistocene fluvial terraces are vertically stacked, indicating a high aggradation to degradation ratio, corresponding with a regional base-level rise during glacier advance. At the beginning of the Late Pleistocene the terrace style changed from a vertical to a lateral stacking pattern, which is attributed to a decrease in accommodation space during glacier retreat. The formation of laterally attached terraces persisted into the Holocene.Major incision phases took place during MIS 5e, 5d, 5c, and probably early MIS 4, early MIS 3 and MIS 2 (Lateglacial). During MIS 5e and the Lateglacial the braided river systems changed into meandering rivers, indicated by preserved organic-rich flood-plain and point bar deposits. The Late Pleistocene braided river systems (MIS 5c to MIS 3) are characterized by a high sinuosity, which may be a direct effect of an increased downstream gradient after deglaciation when the channel lengthened and the river adjusted to the increased gradient by increasing sinuosity. These Middle Pleniglacial fluvial deposits are unconformably overlain by Lateglacial to Holocene meandering river deposits, which form laterally attached terraces, recording millennial-scale channel shifts. The lack of Late Pleniglacial deposits might be related to Late Weichselian forebulge formation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | University of Tübingen, Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege and Leibniz University of Hanover
Type: | Journal: Journal of human evolution | Year: 2015

Schningen represents one of the key sites for Lower Paleolithic archaeology in central Europe, where a Middle to Late Pleistocene sedimentary succession, locally up to 45 m thick, has been preserved in an Elsterian tunnel valley. After deglaciation, the tunnel valley remained underfilled and provided the accommodation space for Holsteinian interglacial deposition and also kept the artifact-bearing strata below base level for subsequent erosion. The Holsteinian (MIS 9) succession consists of laterally and vertically stacked lacustrine delta systems, which were controlled by repeated lake-level changes. In the face of changing climatic and environmental conditions the long-lived interglacial lake provided an attractive site for animals and early humans. Artifacts were deposited on the subaerial delta plain and became embedded during lake-level rise. Although the area was considerably affected by erosion and glacitectonic deformation during the subsequent Saalian glaciation, the artifact-bearing Holsteinian strata were preserved in the deeper part of the tunnel valley. Tunnel valleys should be regarded as potential archives for interglacial deposits, which may contain important Paleolithic sites. Tunnel valleys may provide accommodation space and also have a high preservation potential. Interglacial lakes situated within underfilled tunnel valleys represented attractive sites for animals and early human hunter-gatherers.


Bohner U.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege | Serangeli J.,University of Tübingen | Richter P.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2015

The Spear Horizon (Schöningen 13 II-4) from Schöningen, Lower Saxony, Germany, is one of the most important archeological sites dating to the Middle Pleistocene. Until today, the numerous finds have only been published individually, often outside of their context. Here we present for the first time the distribution map of the Spear Horizon together with a spatial analysis of the different categories of remains (flint, bones, and woods).The finds are situated in a 10 m wide belt, which runs parallel to a former lakeshore. The distribution of faunal remains correlates closely with the distribution of flint artifacts and wooden objects. We have been able to distinguish five different sectors that can be aligned with different events or activities. The greatest density of finds was evident within an area of 11 × 15 m, where most of the horse skulls were recovered. Some of the square meters contain more than 150 finds.During the excavation the profiles were continually documented and these data help us to reconstruct the shoreline of the paleo-lake with considerable accuracy. Over a distance of 60 m, the thickness and density of the organic mud and peat layers could be reconstructed in high resolution.The distribution of finds shows no preferred orientation or selection through size. The analyses only indicate small-scale dislocations and limited taphonomic alterations. The fraction of lithic artifacts with size ranges less than 2 cm are preserved, while some smaller bone fragments are missing.Most of the wooden artifacts are in-situ, but were deformed by the ice load during the Saalian ice age. While some small charcoal remains as well as a burnt artifact have been observed, there is no evidence of burnt bones.Our results allow a first insight into the formation history of the site. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Bauerochse A.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege | Niemuth A.,Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege
Telma | Year: 2012

In accordance with archaeological investigations conducted after the discovery of an Iron Age bog body, a 3D-landscape model of the Grosse Moor near Uchte (Lower Saxony, Germany) was developed. It shows the extension of the peatland during the middle of the first millenium BC. More than 2750 soil profiles taken during the last 60 years were stratigraphically synchronized and together with about 2500 geodetic points from the surrounding area used for the reconstruction of the Iron Age landscape.


PubMed | University of Tübingen and Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege
Type: | Journal: Journal of human evolution | Year: 2015

The Spear Horizon (Schningen 13 II-4) from Schningen, Lower Saxony, Germany, is one of the most important archeological sites dating to the Middle Pleistocene. Until today, the numerous finds have only been published individually, often outside of their context. Here we present for the first time the distribution map of the Spear Horizon together with a spatial analysis of the different categories of remains (flint, bones, and woods). The finds are situated in a 10 m wide belt, which runs parallel to a former lakeshore. The distribution of faunal remains correlates closely with the distribution of flint artifacts and wooden objects. We have been able to distinguish five different sectors that can be aligned with different events or activities. The greatest density of finds was evident within an area of 11 15 m, where most of the horse skulls were recovered. Some of the square meters contain more than 150 finds. During the excavation the profiles were continually documented and these data help us to reconstruct the shoreline of the paleo-lake with considerable accuracy. Over a distance of 60 m, the thickness and density of the organic mud and peat layers could be reconstructed in high resolution. The distribution of finds shows no preferred orientation or selection through size. The analyses only indicate small-scale dislocations and limited taphonomic alterations. The fraction of lithic artifacts with size ranges less than 2 cm are preserved, while some smaller bone fragments are missing. Most of the wooden artifacts are in-situ, but were deformed by the ice load during the Saalian ice age. While some small charcoal remains as well as a burnt artifact have been observed, there is no evidence of burnt bones. Our results allow a first insight into the formation history of the site.


PubMed | University of Tübingen, Leiden University and Niedersachsisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege
Type: | Journal: Journal of human evolution | Year: 2015

Archaeological finds including spears, other wooden artifacts, lithic artifacts, and bones with impact scars and cut marks document the repeated presence of hominins on the shoreline of an approximately 300,000 year old lake near Schningen in Northern Germany. Continuing excavations have uncovered in the locality Schningen at least 20 sites dating to the late Lower Paleolithic. Schningen is therefore not only a singular archaeological site with remarkable finds; it is a vast locality that preserves a multifaceted archaeological landscape with numerous sites. Ongoing excavations have exposed several large surfaces with organic materials dating to MIS 9. In particular, recent excavations have uncovered new sections belonging to the original Spear Horizon from Schningen 13 II-4 (the Horse Butchery Site). Current research in Schningen places the exceptional artifacts within a spatial and environmental context, and provides a wealth of new information on the subsistence strategies and settlement dynamics of the inhabitants of these short-term lakeside occupations. Schningen, with an overall excavated area of 9400 m(2), is one of the largest excavated archaeological localities from MIS 9. Here we present a summary of all the sites, as well as the most relevant excavated areas since 2008 (excavations Tbingen/NLD).

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