Musings of an autodidact

Laacher See: older than Crater Lake

Geology300Today’s geological/historical factoid! This beautiful lake, about 25 miles south of Bonn, Germany, formed as the result of a massive volcanic eruption. The people in the region at the time were far less enthusiastic about this change, as one might imagine. Depopulation and migrations even resulted in one culture losing their bow and arrow technology, much like some living traditional cultures today stand to lose the same technology, along with canoe making, but for the efforts to teach these skills to newer generations.

The wider effects of the eruption were limited, amounting to several years of cold summers and up to two decades of environmental disruption in Germany. However, the lives of the local population, known as the Federmesser culture, were disrupted. Before the eruption, they were a sparsely distributed people who subsisted by foraging and hunting, using both spears and bows and arrows. According to archaeologist Felix Riede, after the eruption the area most affected by the fallout, the Thuringian Basin occupied by the Federmesser, appears to have been largely depopulated, whereas populations in southwest Germany and France increased. Two new cultures, the Bromme of southern Scandinavia and the Perstunian of northeast Europe emerged. These cultures had a lower level of toolmaking skills than the Federmesser, particularly the Bromme who appear to have lost the bow and arrow technology. In Riede’s view the decline was a result from the disruption caused by the Laacher See volcano.

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