The Late Mesolithic Site of Falden, Denmark: Results from Underwater Archaeological Fieldwork and a Strategy for Capacity-Building Based on the SPLASHCOS Mission

  • Otto UldumEmail author
  • Jonathan Benjamin
  • John McCarthy
  • Frederick Feulner
  • Harald Lübke
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


In 2010, a submerged Late Mesolithic settlement site was discovered near the hamlet of Falden during a week-long archaeological dive survey of Helnæs Bay, Denmark. The survey was carried out as part of a training exercise, funded by the SPLASHCOS network. The discovery was a rare occurrence in recent years because priority has been given to rescue investigation of sites affected by the threat of erosion or otherwise potentially destructive modern development. This was not the case at Falden. Two short field seasons subsequent to the site’s discovery (2011–2012) yielded a large inventory of worked flint, faunal remains and various other archaeological materials. The site is presented here within a larger discussion surrounding issues in training and capacity building, as well as management and research strategies concerned with prehistoric underwater cultural heritage. The fieldwork was based on methods used for many years by Langelands Museum as part of a combined survey and public outreach programme, with the additional integration of SPLASHCOS participants, mainly Early Stage Researchers. The lessons learned during this integrated dual-purpose capacity-building and archaeological research mission serve as a valuable experience for a proposed training centre with the aim of providing the opportunity for researchers and practitioners of underwater archaeology to gain the necessary experience to properly undertake research and advise (or themselves become) competent authorities working in underwater heritage management.


Late mesolithic Submerged landscapes Underwater archaeology Underwater methods Training and capacity building 



The authors wish to thank skipper Hans Toft Nielsen and first mate Ann Katrine Toft Lauritzen who safely manoeuvred ‘Mjølner’. We thank Dr. John Meadows for the 14C-dates, Wolfgang Lage for the analysis of the faunal remains, and the crew of archaeologists who took part: Kieran Westley, Jörg Ewersen, Anne Margrethe Walldén, Ehud Galili, Radek Szemelak, Jesper Frederiksen and Claus Skriver. The mainstay of amateur archaeologists during many years, Flemming Sørensen and Arne Jensen are warmly thanked for their unwavering enthusiasm.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Otto Uldum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathan Benjamin
    • 2
  • John McCarthy
    • 2
  • Frederick Feulner
    • 3
  • Harald Lübke
    • 4
  1. 1.Langelands MuseumRudkøbingDenmark
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  4. 4.Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian ArchaeologySchleswig-Holstein State Museums, Schloss GottorfSchleswigGermany

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