Early Holocene Landscape Development and Baltic Sea History Based on High-Resolution Bathymetry and Lagoonal Sediments in the Hanö Bay, Southern Sweden

  • Anton HanssonEmail author
  • Svante Björck
  • Hans Linderson
  • Mats Rundgren
  • Björn Nilsson
  • Arne Sjöström
  • Dan Hammarlund
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


The Baltic basin has experienced extensive water-level fluctuations since the last deglaciation. During two occasions of lower than present water levels, c. 11,700–10,200 and 9800–8000 cal BP, areas along the present-day coast of the Hanö Bay in south-eastern Sweden were exposed and pine-dominated forests were established. Around the mouth of the Verkeån River at the Haväng site, remains of this landscape occur in the form of organic-rich lacustrine deposits and well-preserved stumps and trunks of pine trees, reaching depths of 21 m and distances from the present coastline of around 3 km. This study aims at refined reconstructions of the dynamic Early Holocene environment and shore-level displacement to increase the understanding of how Mesolithic people exploited the landscape. Stratigraphic analyses were performed on a sediment sequence obtained from an organic-rich deposit situated at 8.3 m water depth, aided by detailed bathymetric surveys. Radiocarbon dates obtained from the 3.6 m long sequence, supported by pollen stratigraphic correlation, indicate deposition during the period 9000–8600 cal BP with an unusually high sediment accumulation rate. As indicated by a consistently high organic matter content, stable C/N ratios and a general lack of coarse mineral matter, the sediments were deposited in a low-energy environment. Our preliminary interpretation is that the organic-rich deposit was formed in a highly productive oxbow lake, connected via a shallow threshold to the Verkeån River, only allowing fine-grained, fluvially transported particles to reach the depositional environment. As indicated by numerous Mesolithic artefacts in the area, the dynamic landscape at the Haväng site with its rich fishing waters and access to fresh water must have been attractive to Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. People had to adapt to the changing water levels and climatic conditions during the Early Holocene, and traces of their presence are preserved as a consequence of the accumulation of organic-rich fluvial deposits around the river mouth.


Shore-Level Displacement Geoarchaeology Sediment Stratigraphy Early Holocene Sweden 



This project is funded by The Crafoord Foundation, the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund and the Knowledge Foundation. The crew of R/V Ocean Surveyor are thanked for help with the coring. We also thank MMT AB for bathymetry mapping, MARIS and Södertörn University for their part in this project, and Beesham Soogrim and Krister Jeppson for invaluable help during the diving expeditions. Finally, we thank the South Skåne Regiment of the Swedish armed forces for their cooperation during the field operations.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anton Hansson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Svante Björck
    • 1
  • Hans Linderson
    • 1
  • Mats Rundgren
    • 1
  • Björn Nilsson
    • 2
  • Arne Sjöström
    • 2
  • Dan Hammarlund
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology and Ancient HistoryLUX, Lund UniversityLundSweden

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