Pim de Klerk Palynology

Pollen analyses in the Odra Valley near the Slavic fortification
"Grodisch"  near Wiesenau (Brandenburg, E. Germany)


In 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the study of patterns in vegetation and sedimentation during the Weichselian Lateglacial it was discovered that many unpublished palynological data from the period of the German Democratic Republic are preserved in archives of research institutes.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 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 sites analysed by the late Klaus Kloss is from the surroundings of the Slavic fortification “Grodisch” in the Odra Valley near Wiesenau.


Location of the Slavic Fortification “Grodisch” in the Odra Valley (NE Germany)

The Slavic fortification “Grodisch” is located in the western part of the Odra River floodplain north of Eisenhttenstadt between Wiesenau, Ziltendorf and Ernst-Thälmann-Siedlung. Two lithological cross-sections in the surroundings of the fortification were presented by Brose (1988). These cross-sections show predominant sandy to gravely deposits at greater depth that correlate to fluvial activity within the Urstromtal during is active phase. Widespread layers of clay and silt represent overbank deposits of the Odra River, and were marked AI–AIV by Brose (1988). Peat layers in the flood basin - marked OI–OIII by Brose (1988) - relate to phases with reduced river activity around the location of the archaeological site. The sand bodies SI and SII represent channel deposits. From core 15 (at the intersection between both cross-sections) several organic layers were radiocarbon-dated. 


Topography of the area of the Slavic fortification and settlement “Grodisch”. Indicated are two palaeochannels and the position of the cross-sections and the relevant corings. Modified after Brose (1988)

The archaeological investigations revealed that a settlement already existed at the studied location in the second half of the 6th century (Teichert 1979; Vogt 1986). The beginning of the construction of the fortification was dendrochronologically dated between AD 892 and 939 (Heuner/Westphal 1998, revising Jährig 1977). The fortification was abandoned in the 10th century (Vogt 1986; Probst 2005). A small village immediately south of the fortification existed up to the 12th century. Two completely terrestrialised palaeochannels surround the fortification and the settlement. A paved area was discovered at the bank of the western palaeochannel (Schulz 1975; Brose 1988).

The precise location of the analysed core Wiesenau 1/86 is unknown. A handwritten remark among the notes of K. Kloss mentions that it is “at the edge of the village within the reach of a ditch near a bank reinforcement”. This description points to the palaeochannel at close distance to the paved area.


Lithological crosssections through the study area, based on corings 1–15 and on data derived during the excavations. Also indicated are the results of four radiocarbon dates from core 15 and their calibrated ages, and the approximate position of the palynologically analysed core Wiesenau 1/86. Modified after Brose (1988).

The pollen diagram starts in the Hippophaë-phase (“Bølling”). Peat formation, of which sedges were the main peatforming taxa, indicates that fluvial activity in the Urstromtal was restricted during this time period. Other peatland plants included Myriophyllum, Menyanthes, Sparganium and/or Typha angustifolia, Sagittaria, and possibly some Asteraceae, Apiaceae, Equisetum, Rubiaceae and Thalictrum.

The Lateglacial Betula/Pinus forest phase (“Allerød”) is covered by few samples only that do not allow the recognition of the “classical” pollen sequence of Brandenburg for this time period. Whereas Open vegetation phase III (“Younger Dryas”) normally is characterised by high values of Artemisia pollen, in the Wiesenau diagram pollen attributable to Helianthemum are prominent. A layer of silt can be interpreted as overbank deposits, indicating that the investigated site was part of a floodplain of an active river.

During the Early Holocene pine is a prominent tree species in the region. A thin layer of fine sand will relate to dune formation during this time period. A peat layer indicates that river activity did not reach this part of the valley anymore, and reedlands will have been pertinent. A hiatus covers the time-period up to the Middle Holocene. Again, reedlands were present. A clay layer will represent overbank deposits.

In the pollendiagram section corresponding to the Slavic period high values of anthropogenic indicator pollen types show cultivation of rhye and other cereals as well as vetches, peas and linen. The local peatforming vegetation consisted of reeds.



De Klerk, P. (2011/2012): Lateglacial and Holocene vegetation development and fluvial  dynamics in the Odra valley near the Slavic fortification "Grodisch" of  Wiesenau (Brandenburg, E Germany) inferred from a pollen diagram from  the legacy of Klaus Kloss. Veröffentlichungen zur brandenburgische Landesarchäologie 45: 131-142.


Related publications:

Brose, F. (1988): Geologische Prozesse und deren Ergebnisse in der Ziltendorfer Niederung seit dem Weichselkataglazial. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Potsdam 22: 127–134.

Buck, D.W. & Geisler, H. (1971): Ausgrabungen auf dem älterslawischen Burgwall Grodisch bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt, im Jahre 1970. Ausgrabungen und Funde 16: 46–154.

Geisler, H. (1970): Ausgrabung auf dem slawischen Burgwall Grodisch bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Ausgrabungen und Funde 15: 156–165.

Geisler, H. (1976):  Altslawischer Burgwall und Siedlung bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Ausgrabungen und Funde 21: 151–153.

Geisler, H. & Schulz, R. (1973): Burgwall und Siedlung Grodisch bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Grabungen der Jahre 1971 und 1972. Ausgrabungen und Funde 18: 147–153.

Gramsch, B. (1977): Zu den Ergebnissen der dendrochronologischen Untersuchung der Holzproben von Wiesenau aus archäologischer Sicht. Zeitschrift für Archäologie 11: 21–128.

Jährig, M. (1977): Die Ergebnisse der dendrochronologischen Untersuchung von Holzproben vom slawischen Burgwall Grodisch bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Zeitschrift für Archäologie 11: 110–120.

Probst, R. (2005): Wiesenau: der Burgwall „Grodisch“. In: Aufleger, M., Eickhoff, S. & Wetzel, G. (eds.): Frankfurt an der Oder und das Land Lebus. Führer zu archologischen Denkmälern in Deutschland 45: 208–211.

Schulz, R. (1975): Ausgrabungen auf der Siedlung neben dem slawischen Burgwall Grodisch bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt, 1973 und 1974. Ausgrabungen und Funde 20: 151–153.

Teichert, L. (1979): Tierknochenfunde aus dem altslawischen Burgwall bei Wiesenau, Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Potsdam 12: 167–218.

Vogt, H.-J. (1976): Altslawische Ackerbaugeräte vom Gelände des Burgwalles „Grodisch“ in Wiesenau Kr. Eisenhüttenstadt. Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Potsdam 10: 205–220.

Vogt, H.-J. (1986): Die Ausgrabungen auf dem slawischen Burgwall „Grodisch“ bei Wiesenau. Beiträge zur Geschichte von Eisenhüttenstadt 1: 50–56.



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