Maglemosian culture

Maglemosian culture
Geographical range Europe
Period Mesolithic Europe
Dates c. 9000 – c. 6000 BC
Preceded by Ahrensburgian, Swiderian culture
Followed by Kongemose culture
The Mesolithic
The Epipaleolithic
Mesolithic Europe
Epipaleolithic Europe
Fosna–Hensbacka culture
Komsa culture
Maglemosian culture
Lepenski vir culture
Kunda culture
Narva culture
Komornica culture
Swiderian culture
Epipaleolithic Transylvania
Mesolithic Transylvania
Schela Cladovei culture
Mesolithic Southeastern Europe
Levantine corridor
Stone Age

Maglemosian (c. 9000 – c. 6000 BC) is the name given to a culture of the early Mesolithic period in North Europe. In Scandinavia, the culture was succeeded by the Kongemose culture and Tardenoisian culture.


The actual name originates from the Danish archeological site Maglemose, situated near Gørlev and Høng on western Zealand, southwest of lake Tissø. Here the first settlement of the culture was excavated in 1900, by George Sarauw.[1] During the following century a long series of similar settlements were excavated from England to Poland and from Skåne in Sweden to northern France.

The Maglemosian people lived in forest and wetland environments, using fishing and hunting tools made from wood, bone, and flint microliths. It appears that they had domesticated the dog. Some may have lived settled lives, but most were nomadic.

Huts made of bark have been preserved, and the tools were made of flint, bone, and horn. A characteristic of the culture are the sharply edged microliths of flintstone, used for spear and arrow heads.[2] Another notable feature is the "leister", a characteristic type of fishing spear, used for gigging.

When the Maglemosian culture reigned, sea levels were much lower than now and Europe and Scandinavia were landlocked with Britain. The cultural period overlaps the end of the last ice age, when the ice retreated and the glaciers melted. It was a long process and sea levels in Northern Europe, did not reach current levels until almost 6000 BC, by which time they had inundated large territories previously inhabited by Maglemosian people. Therefore, there is hope that the emerging discipline of underwater archaeology may reveal interesting finds related to the Maglemosian culture in the future.

Scandinavian data table

Era Early Maglemosian culture Middle Maglemosian culture Late Maglemosian culture
Timespan 9,000 BC – 7,800 BC 7,800 BC – 7,000 BC 7,000 BC – 6,400 BC
Climatic period Preboreal Epoch Boreal Epoch Atlantic Epoch
Plantgrowth Birch-pine era Hazel-pine era Later linden era
Mammal game aurochs, bison, elk, wild horse aurochs, red deer, roe deer, wild boar, lynx, fox, polecat, badger, wildcat aurochs, red deer, roe deer, wild boar, lynx, fox, polecat, badger, wildcat
Bird game crane, lapwing merganser, grebe, coot, heron, crane, lapwing merganser, grebe, coot, heron, crane, lapwing
Locale type Klosterlund

See also

Téviec burial


Danish-language texts


  1. Sarauw, G. F. L. (1903). "En Stenaldersboplads i Maglemose ved Mullerup – sammenholdt med beslægtede fund" [A Stone Age settlement in Maglemose near Mullerup – compared with related finds. Resumé: Études sur le premier âge de la pierre du Nord de l'Europe]. Aarbøger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie (in Danish). 1903. A German translation appeared in Prähistorische Zeitschrift in 1911
  2. Med bue, pil og fiskespyd Gyldendals Open Encyclopedia (Danish). Pictures of some Maglemosian tools.
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