Pim de Klerk Palynology

Vegetation history and cultural development around
Lake Rangsdorf (“Rangsdorfer See”) (C Brandenburg)


Archaeological studies to the southwest of the Rangsdorfer See near Berlin revealed a series of settlements dating to the Pre-Roman Iron Age. A prominent feature was the local production of iron, which is untill now the oldest known iron production in NE Germany. Iron melting was in a type of ofen that is not know from other regions, and the amount of production may have exceeded the local need, and exportation thus is conceivable. The  settlements occur predominantly at the margins of till plateaus

Location of Lake Rangsdorf (“Rangsdorfer See”) south of Berlin in central Brandenburg (NE Germany)

Extensive excavation and archaeological researches were carried out within a project of the German Research Counsil (DFG) by a team of the Institute of Prehistorical Archaeology of the Free University of Berlin. In order to place the archaeological finds and the culture of the Pre-Roman Iron Age in a landscape-context, palynological analyses were carried out on a sediment core from the centre of the lake.

Locations of the iron-age settlements (red dots) along the margins of a till pateau to the southwest of Lake Rangsdorf. (Map: Markolf Brumlich)

Lake Rangsdorf, view from the northeast, with the approximate position of the analysed core. In the background the higher areas of the till plateau (photo: Pim de Klerk)

The sediment core RDS 2/3 has a length of ca. 17 m and does not reach to the base of organic lake sediments: total sediment thickness is unknown. The pollen diagram covers the time frame after ca. 8000-8500 years BP and shows the general vegetation history typical for the central Brandenburg and Berlin regions.

The sediment section corresponding to the Pre-Roman Iron Age was analysed with a sample resolution of 2 cm, which corresponds to (roughly estimated) 5-6 years. Such high temporal resolution has not been reached previously in this area, and allows a detailed reconstruction of vegetation history and cultural development.

The pollen diagram shows three clear phases with intensive human impact separated by phases with reduced impact. Of this, the upper phase dates between ca. 400-100 years BCE and most likely corresponds to the most intensive iron production phase. Although a minor reduction is discernable, a general high degree of human impact indicates a relatively stable society with sufficient welfare for upholding this stability.

A strong and sudden reduction of pollen types attributable to plants of open dry vegetation types indicate that the local society collapsed within ca. 5 years. The causes for this sudden brakdown of the regional population is at present still unknown.


This research is carried out in close cooperation with Michael Meyer, Markolf Brumlich, Wiebke Bebermeier, Philipp Hoelzmann, Michael Thelemann and Susanne Jahns.


De Klerk, P. & Brumlich, M. (in press): Pollenanalysen an Sedimenten aus dem Rangsdorfer See zur Rekonstruktion der Vegetations- und Siedlungsgeschichte im Umfeld der Glienicker Platte mit einer hohen zeitlichen Auflösung der mittleren Bronze- bis frühen römischen Kaiserzeit (ca. 1500 BC-200 AD). Special volume on the DFG-Project €ž”Eisenverhüttung in der Vorrömischen Eisenzeit des nördlichen Mitteleuropas. Das Fallbeispiel des Teltow” (working title).


Other relevant publications:

Brumlich, M. (2006): Essen rauchten und Hämmer klangen. Latènezeitliche Eisenverhüttung und -verarbeitung auf dem Teltow. Arch. Berlin u. Brandenburg 2005: 78-80.

Brumlich, M. (2010): Eisenverhüttung und -verarbeitung in der vorrömischen Eisenzeit. Funde von der Hochfläche des Teltow. In: M. Meyer (ed.), Haus – Gehöft – Weiler – Dorf. Siedlungen der Vorrömischen Eisenzeit im nördlichen Mitteleuropa. Berliner Arch. Forsch. 8: 61-84.

Brumlich, M. (2011): Tonnenweise Schlacke. Latènezeitliche Eisenproduktion bei Glienick, Lkr. Teltow-Fläming. Arch. Berlin u. Brandenburg 2009: 59-62.

Brumlich, M. (2012): Heiße Öfen. Frühe Eisenverhüttung bei Glienick, Lkr. Teltow-Fläming. Arch. Berlin u. Brandenburg 2010: 63-66.

Brumlich, M. (2012): Glienick: Eisenzeitliches Produktionszentrum. In: F. Schopper/J. v. Richthofen, Ausflüge im Südwesten Brandenburgs. Zauche, Teltow, Fläming. Ausflüge zu Archäologie, Geschichte und Kultur in Deutschland 54: 252-255.

Brumlich, M. & Hanik, S. (2012): Tieropfer für Eisen? Arch. Deutschland 12: 42-43.

Brumlich, M. & Meyer, M. (2005): Frühe Eisen im Feuer. Arch. Deutschland 5: 46-47.

Brumlich, M., Meyer, M. & Lychatz, B. (2011): Das DFG-Projekt „Eisenverhüttung in der Vorrömischen Eisenzeit des nördlichen Mitteleuropas. Das Fallbeispiel des Teltow“. Arch. Nachr.bl. 16.4: 345-358.

Meyer,M. (2001): Schlacken aus der Eisenzeit. Sondagen in Waltersdorf, Landkreis Dahme-Spreewald, und Glienick, Landkreis Teltow-Fläming. Arch. Berlin u. Brandenburg 2000, 2001, 62–64.

Meyer, M. et al. (2004): Die latènezeitliche Siedlung Glienick 14, Ldkr. Teltow-Fläming. Bemerkungen zum Forschungsstand latènezeitlicher Siedlungen in Brandenburg. In: H. Machajewski (Hrsg.), Kultura jastorfska na Nizinie Wielkopolsko-Kujawskiej (Poznań 2004) 161–198.



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