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Nature volume 131, pages 551553 (15 April 1933) | Download Citation



Age of Maglemose in Britain. The evidence for dating the three Maglemose harpoons, which have been found in Britain, by means of the pollen deposits in peat, is discussed by H. and M. E. Godwin in Antiquity for March. Of the two harpoons from Holderness in Yorkshire, the Skipsea example was found below 5 ft. of peat with remains of reindeer and an Ancylus fauna. Samples of the peat deposit, which is 7 ft. thick with brown sandy silt below, show an immigration and rise of Alnus with a diminishing Pinus, a high initial percentage of Corylus, falling rapidly, but with a pronounced secondary maximum, a small percentage of Salix and Tilia, and Ulmus and Quercus showing high percentage values in the lower samples. These conditions are characteristic of the Boreal period, the actual site of discovery being late Boreal. A ‘moorlog’ sample trawled from the North Sea between the Lemaii and Ower banks off the coast of Norfolk, the point from which a Maglemose harpoon was trawled in the summer of 1932 [this should be September, 1931], showed an absence of alder, a virtual absence of elm and an absence of oak from the basal sample, and suggests that this harpoon is rather older and of early Boreal age. The attempt to obtain samples of peat from the Hornsea site in Holderness, from which the second of the Yorkshire specimens came, was unsuccessful. Turning to analogous finds on the Continent, the artefacts from Kunda in Esthonia came from a layer of ‘bleke’ a fresh-water calcareous deposit of the Kunda sea, overlying clay with sub-arctic plants and Betula, Pinus and Salix. The Kunda artefacts can be dated with certainty as of Boreal age and correlated with the Ancylus maximum. The Pinus maximum and fall, the diminishing Betula, the increasing Alnus and the immigrant Ulmus, with Quercus not yet present, characterise the Boreal period for the more northerly parts of Europe. Forest development seems to have been synchronous in Esthonia, Denmark and England and the Maglemose cultures of each were approximately contemporaneous.

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