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Neanderthals sought – fish found (completed)

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Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke

Due to a thick covering of Weichselian deposits, exposures of organic sediments from the last interglacial period, the Eemian, are rare across the entire Baltic Sea region. Consequently, the distribution and settlement density of Neanderthals in the area at that time is largely unknown. In order to find the possible first traces of Neanderthals in the Baltic, the Lithuanian National Historical Institute in Vilnius has, for a number of years, carried out surveys and excavations. In the course of these, Eemian lacustrine sediments were located by the River Nemunas, near the village of Netiesos. Although these gave no indications of early humans, animal and plant remains were recovered, which provide information about the Baltic landscape 100,000 years ago.

Dr Gytis Piličiauskas

Dr Gytis Piličiauskas investigating the sediments of a 100,000 year old lake.


The development of the climate in Central Europe during the last interglacial, and the consequent vegetational succession, corresponded largely to Holocene conditions. However, it is well known from pollen-analytical data that the Eemian climate was generally milder and more humid than in comparable periods of the Holocene. As a consequence, the fish fauna can be expected to have had a somewhat different composition. With the investigations of the fish remains from Netiesos, new scientific ground is being broken, because only very sparse evidence concerning the Eemian fish fauna is presently available from the Baltic and beyond, over the whole of Northern Europe.

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