Many wetland areas in Northern Europe have preserved relevant organic material, but the archaeological
site of Hohen Viecheln (Germany) offers the exceptional preservation of part of an open-air lakeside settlement
site much as it was during its long period of occupation in the Early Holocene. The analysis of production
debris and artefacts discarded there amongst the refuse of consumption has provided evidence for a
culturally-specific concept underlying the production of hunting/fishing gear. The major potential of this corpus
of finds lies in the opportunity it presents for the comparison of the technologies employed at the site over
time, and the broadening of such comparisons to contemporaneous sites that have yielded similar assemblages
in neighbouring and more distant regions. On the basis of artefact morphology and fabrication techniques of
artefacts made of the bones of butchered animals, Hohen Viecheln has become a key Postglacial (Early Mesolithic)
site in the illumination of a unique technological tradition, the ‘northern technocomplex’, spanning
the whole of Northern Europe west of the Baltic Sea during the Early Mesolithic, distinct from contemporary
technologies of other Nordic regions, and those of eastern origin.
The northern technocomplex, which represents a technological tradition that occurred in the bone manufacture
in the western part of Northern Europe from the 9th to 8th millennia cal. BC, is marked by a strong
diachronic consistency in artefact form and design over a period of about two millennia. Within it, Hohen
Viecheln stands out for the relative crudeness of the barbed points that were probably used as leister prongs.
An analysis of this unique technological trait raises two primary areas of further inquiry: 1) the relationship
between the industrial domain and that of subsistence, when a single animal species served as a primary
resource in both domains, and 2) the recognition of distinct cultural groups founded on a techno-stylistic
variability as observed in the form of such projectile points. It is assumed here that Hohen Viecheln belonged
to (a) subgroup(s) (Duvensee/Pritzerbe) of this northern technocomplex throughout the period of its occupation,
with the addition of a Maglemosian component in its more recent phase. Without offering a conclusive
explanation of the origin of this apparent technological transformation, from Duvensee/Pritzerbe to Duvensee/
Pritzerbe + Maglemose (autochthonous innovation, acculturation, import?), the study examines the
Hohen Viecheln osseous industry in diachronic and regional context, and in comparison with contemporary
assemblages from the neighbouring region of Zealand (Denmark), where the Maglemosian appears – technostylistically
– as a more internally-consistent, monolithic entity. The results provide new evidence relevant
to the old debate over the appropriateness of chrono-cultural seriation based solely on durable elements of
material production and the implications for understanding the relationships between recognized postglacial
cultural groups in this area of Northern Europe.
David, É.: The osseous technology of Hohen Viecheln: A Maglemosian idiosyncrasy?, in: Gross et al. (edd.), Working at The Sharp End at Hohen Viecheln, Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum, Vol. 10, pp. 127–162, DOI: 10.23797/9783529018619-3.