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BRU - The History of the vegetation and cultural landscape during the Early Bronze Age in Bruszczewo, Poland (2004-2011)

Project Description and Objectives

The understanding of the development of the prehistorical natural to the cultural landscape of today is a key-focus of our research at the Early Bronze Age settlement of Bruszczewo, Poland. Our palynological and palaeoethnobotanical studies brought to light some astonishing aspects of prehistorical lake pollution within a period of changing climate. During the existence of the Bronze Age village for more than 200 years on a half-island in the middle of a former oxbow lake, a parallel increase of lake water pollution was evidenced. Detailed quantification of Non-pollen Palynomorphs (e.g. noxious algae, coprophilous fungi, and human/animal parasites) found in the lake sediments were paralleled with the local settlement history, allowing reconstruction of a strong input of excrements and agricultural runoff towards the lake, resulting in heavy lake eutrophication towards poisonous conditions in terms of drinkable water quality. This leads to the question, if prehistorical lake pollution did impact on the decision of the former inhabitants of Bruszczewo to give up this strategic place and excellent settlement area surrounded by fertile soils and lying at that time on a cross-road of interregional cultural contacts and trade. Interestingly, the recovery of the lake system to nutrient-poor conditions as evidenced by macrofossil finds of aquatic plants happened within a century after the abandonment of the locality, showing that polluted lake systems may have quickly back-reached natural conditions also in prehistory.

Funding
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany

Personnel involved
Jean Nicolas Haas, Prof. Dr. (Project leader)
Notburga Oeggl Wahlmüller Dr. (PostDoc)
Elisabeth Waldner (Project assistant)

Cooperation
Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Germany  [Link]
Janusz Czebreszuk, Prof. UAM Dr. Hab., Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland  [Link]

Selected Publications
Haas, J.N. & Wahlmüller, B. (2004): Pollenanalytische Untersuchungen im Bereich der bronzezeitlichen Seeuferstation "Bruszczewo" - Badania palinologiczne na stanowisku z epoki brazu w "Bruszczewie". In: J. Czebreszuk & J. Müller (eds.) Bruszczewo: Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in einer prähistorischen Siedlungskammer Großpolens - Badania mikroregionu osadniczego z terenu Wielkopolski. I. Forschungsstand - Erste Ergebnisse - Das östliche Feuchtbodenareal - Stan badan - Pierwsze wyniki - Wschodnia, torfowa czesc stanowiska. Poznan-Bamberg-Rahden (Westf.). Studien zur Archäologie in Ostmitteleuropa 2: 273-279.

Haas J.N. & Wahlmüller, N. (2010): Floren-, Vegetations- und Milieuveränderungen im Zuge der bronzezeitlichen Besiedlung von Bruszczewo (Polen) und der landwirtschaftlichen Nutzung der umliegenden Gebiete. In: Müller, J. et al. (eds.): Bruszczewo II - Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in einer prähistorischen Siedlungskammer Großpolens. Studien zur Archäologie in Ostmitteleuropa 6: 50-81.

Kneisel, J., Bork, H.-R., Czeberesuk, J., Dörfler, W., Grootes, P., Haas, J.N., Heußner, K.-U., Hildebrandt-Radke, I., Kroll, H., Müller, J., Wahlmüller, N. & Wazny, T. (2008): Bruszczewo - Early Bronze Defensive Settlement in Wielkopolska. Metallurgy, peat zone finds and changes in the environment. In: J. Czebreszuk/S. Kadrow/J. Müller (Hrsg.), Defensive Structures from Central Europe to the Aegean in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Studien zur Archäologie in Ostmitteleuropa 5: 155-170 (Poznan/Bonn).

Kneisel, Jutta, Czebreszuk, Janusz, Dörfler, Walter, Grootes, Piet, Haas, Jean Nicolas, Heussner, Karl-Uwe, Karg, Sabine, Kroll, Helmut, Müller, Johannes, Wahlmüller, Notburga & Wazny, Tomasz (2008): Die befestigte frühbronzezeitliche Siedlung Bruszczewo: Metallproduktion, Feuchtbodenbefunde und ökologischer Kollaps? NAU - Nachrichtenblatt Arbeitskreis Unterwasserarchäologie 14: 51-58.

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