Pim de Klerk Palynology

A pollen diagram  from the Birkbuschwiesen in the Tollense valley
near Neubrandenburg (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, NE Germany)


In the search for pollen diagrams from NE Germany for the study of patterns in vegetation and sedimentation during the Weichselian Lateglacial it was discovered that many unpublished palynological data from the period of the German Democratic Republic are preserved in archives of research institutes. In order to save these data from sinking into oblivion and to make them available to the scientific audience, part of this material was digitalised and published (see revision of old palynological data from E Germany). One of the digitalised pollen diagrams by Klaus Kloss is from a core from the nature protection area “Birkbuschwiesen” in the Tollensetal near Neubrandenburg.

The recent spectacular discovery of a battlefield from the Bronze Age in the Tollense valley near Weltzin and connected archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research revived the interest in the pollen diagram from the Birkbuschwiesen, that is located around 15 km south of the battlefield.

Location of the southern reach of the Tollense valley, the location of the nature protection area “Naturschutzgebiet Birkbuschwiesen” (BBW), as well as the location of the Bronze Age Battlefield and the palynologically analysed sites “Wodarg 1” (WOD1) and “Weltzin 20” (WEZ20) (Lorenz et al., in: Jantzen et al. 2014)

The Tollense valley - ca. 2.5 km wide in the study area - is a subglacial tunnel valley. The valley originates from the Elsterian and was revived during later glaciations. The valley floor consists of Saalian and Weichselian glacio-fluvial sand deposits, and Weichselian till plains with some incidental Saalian till plain remnants surround the valley and reach around 30-60 m above the valley floor.

The valley is filled with a percolation mire, with some reaches of spring mires along the valley margins and a flood mire along the Tollense River, that consist of a spatially small-scaled complex of layers of predominantly Phragmites peat, sedge peat and calcareous gyttja. Due to water level lowering, the upper peat layers have been humified and are partly lost. Peat extraction has been prominent, and many of the patches with open water are former peat extraction pits.

It is unknown where the core analysed by Klaus Kloss was taken. His field notes mention that the core NTr1 was taken at a distance of 500 m to the eastern mineral soils. A second core NTr2 was taken 50 m to the east of NTr1.

Geological map of the Tollense valley north of Neubrandenburg (after: Rüberg (1998b)

The pollen diagram covers the time periods from the Weichselian Lateglacial (Lateglacial Betula/Pinus forest phase, commonly known as the Allerød) to the Slav period and show the typical sequence of vegetation phases for the Lateglacial and Holocene in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The local gyttja and peat sequence show the development of a limnic environment that transformed into a considerably wet valley mire in which phases of peatland alternate with phases of open water. The pollen diagram shows that grasses, sedges and ferns as the main wetland vegetation elements, with various other typical aquatic and telmatic plant taxa.

Extraordinary are some phases with high values of pollen attributable to cultivated plants and agricultural weeds, that greatly exceed the values normally found in pollen diagrams from southeastern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. These show that human impact was prominent in the study area during the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the Pre-Roman Iron Age, however phases with prominent human impact alternated with phases of reduced human activity. Such high values of types indicating human impact are also visible in the Weltzin 20 diagram  within the area of the Bronze Age battlefield (Lorenz et al., in: Jantzen et al. 2014). This shows that the southern reach of the Tollensetal has been conspicuously attractive for human settlement during the prehistoric cultural periods, and that the area may have been an important cultural and economical centre that possibly attracted warriors from regions far away.


De Klerk, P. (in press): Vegetation history, mire development and human impact in and around the Tollense Valley near Neubrandenburg (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, NE Germany): two pollen diagrams from the legacy of Klaus Kloss. In: Tod im Tollensetal 2 (working title).


Selected other literature on the Tollense valley and the Birkbuschwiesen:

Beitz, A. (2004): Vegetations- und Standortswandel im NSG Birkbuschwiesen bei Neubrandenburg. MSc-Thesis, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald.

Granitzki, K. & Strübing, H. (eds.) (2010): Einblicke in die Geologie der Region Neubrandenburg. Neubrandenburger Geologische Beiträge 10.

Jantzen, D. & Terberger, T. (2011): Gewaltsamer Tod im Tollensetal vor 3200 Jahren. Archäologie in Deutschland 4: 6-11.

Jantzen, D., Brinker, U., Orschiedt, J., Heinemeier, J., Piek, J., Hauenstein, K., Krüger, J., Lidke, G., Lübke, H., Lampe, R., Lorenz, S., Schult, M. & Terberger, T. (2011): A Bronze Age battlefield? Weapons and trauma in the Tollense Valley, north-eastern Germany. Antiquity 85: 417-433.

Jantzen, D., Orschiedt, J., Pieck, J. & Terberger, T. (eds.) (2014): Tod im Tollensetal. Forschungen zu den Hinterlassenschaften eines bronzezeitliches Gewaltkonflikted in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Teil 1: die Forschungen bis 2011. Beiträge zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns 50. Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwerin.

Jeschke, L., Lenschow, U. & Zimmermann, H. (eds.) (2003): Die Naturschutzgebiete in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Demmler-Verlag GmbH, Schwerin.

Kanter, L. (2000): Das Tollense-Becken - ein ehemaliges Tunneltal. Neubrandenburger geologische Beiträge 1: 11-23.

Kloss, K. (1977): Pollenanalytische Untersuchungen im Tollensetal bei Trollenhagen, Kreis Neubrandenburg. Project Report.

Knapp, H.D. (1989): Landeskulturelles Gutachten als Entscheidungshilfe für Flurgestaltung und Landnutzung - Beispiel Tollensetal bei Neubrandenburg. Gleditschia 17: 207-232.

Lidke, G., Brinker, U., Dräger, J., Jantzen, D., Krüger, J. & Terberger, T. (2014): Mehr als nur blanke Knochen - archäologische Forschungen zum “Schlachtfeld der Bronzezeit” im Tollensetal, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (2008-2011). Forschungen zur Archäologie im Land Brandenburg 15: 17-24.

Rühberg, N. (1998a): Die Eiszeitliche Schichtenfolge und Entwicklung im Gebiet um Neubrandenburg. In: Granitzki, K. (eds.): Geologie der Region Neubrandenburg. Industrie- und Handelskammer Neubrandenburg: 31-40.

Rühberg, N. (1998b): Geologische Karte Raum Neubrandenburg. In: Granitzki, K. (eds.): Geologie der Region Neubrandenburg. Industrie- und Handelskammer Neubrandenburg, appendix.

Succow, M. (2001): Tollense-Flußtalmoor. In: Succow, M. & Joosten, H. (eds.): Landschaftsökologische Moorkunde. E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (Nägele u. Obermiller), Stuttgart: 431-434.

Terberger, T., Dombrowsky, A., Dräger, J., Jantzen, D., Krüger, J. & Lidke, G. (2014): Professionelle Krieger in der Bronzezeit vor 3300 Jahren? Zu den Überresten eines Gewaltkonfliktes im Tollensetal, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In: Link, T. & Peter-Röcher, H. (eds.): Gewalt und Gesellschaft, Dimensionen der Gewalt in ur- und frühgeschichtlicher Zeit. Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie 259: 93-220.



View My Stats