Book: Early Economy and Settlement in Northern Europe
Chapter: Pauler 2: An Ordinary Early Mesolithic Site in South-Eastern Norway?
An Early Mesolithic coastal site on the Norwegian coast is normally comprised of one to three flint clusters, totalling around 3000 finds. This kind of site is perceived to be representative of activities by small, mobile hunter-gather-fisher groups. The key discussion in this article is about whether Pauler 2 is one of these ordinary sites, or if the method of analysis can yield information enabling interpretation of something extraordinary. The site of Pauler 2 dates to 11,150 BP/ 9150 cal. BC. At that time it lay sheltered at a narrow strait on the northern coast of Skagerrak. The archaeological material includes three flint scatters, containing a total of approximately 3700 finds, each associated with a hearth structure. In addition, there was an adjacent area, cleared of stones, that has been interpreted to be the site of a light dwelling structure. The lithics found at the site include the same elements as found on other Early Mesolithic sites, i.e., tanged and single edged flint points, microliths, burins, and flake axes. However, results from refitting and intrasite analyses suggest that Pauler 2 might not be an ordinary Early Mesolithic site. That is, the results of refitting demonstrate that the three flint clusters were deposited during the same occupation. Furthermore, there was also variation of specific tool types among the flint clusters suggesting a clear on-site organisation of activities. Finally, three needle points, a type previously not recorded in Norway, were found together in the cleared area.