History of Denmark/Prehistoric Denmark/Overview
- Part of the School of History.
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Statement of learning goals for this resource
In this resource, the student should learn a brief overview of Prehistoric Denmark.
The Scandinavian region has a rich prehistory, having been populated by several prehistoric cultures and people for about 12,000 years, since the end of the last ice age. During the ice age, all of Scandinavia was covered by glaciers most of the time, except for the southwestern parts of what we now know as Denmark. When the ice began retreating, the barren tundras were soon inhabited by reindeer and elk, and Ahrenburg and Swiderian hunters from the south followed them here to hunt occasionally. The geography then was very different from what we know today. Sea levels were much lower; the island of Great Britain was connected by a land bridge to mainland Europe and the large area between Great Britain and the Jutlandic peninsula - now beneath the North Sea and known as Doggerland - was inhabited by tribes of hunter-gatherers. As the climate warmed up, forceful rivers of meltwater started to flow and shape the virgin lands, and more stable flora and fauna gradually began emerging in Scandinavia, and Denmark in particular. The first human settlers to inhabit Denmark and Scandinavia permanently were the Maglemosian people, residing in seasonal camps and exploiting the land, sea, rivers and lakes. It was not until around 6,000 BC that the approximate geography of Denmark as we know it today had been shaped. Denmark has some unique natural conditions for preservation of artifacts, providing a rich and diverse archeological record from which to understand the prehistoric cultures of this area.