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Culture 2000

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Press Comments

Twinning Association Newsletter, 01.04.2002

The Cultural Landscape of a North German Rural Region

by Rüdiger Kelm

The Archaeological-Ecological Center Albersdorf within the European Project "Pathways to Cultural Landscapes"

The county of Dithmarschen is a rural landscape region in the west part of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The east part of Dithmarschen, the so called "Geest" is characterized by an old moraine Pleistocene landscape, subdivided into raised bogs, valleys, forests and farmland. In the West the Dithmarscher Geest is limited by sand-bars, bogs and marine marshes. According to the (from an economic point of view) remote status of the region a great number of archaeological monuments since the Neolithic and bronze age have survived. On the other hand no systematic archaeological inventory and research has been done in the past on the Geest area.

Since 1997 the "Archaeological-Ecological Center Albersdorf (AOZA) has worked on aiming to re-establish a cultural landscape from the Neolithic for about 5,000 years ago on an area of about 80 acres. To realize the idea the project takes the following concrete steps: By a most natural, but on the base of a landscape-plan controlled development the AOZA wants to establish a long term perspective type of landscape similar in structure, proportion and other aspects of a Neolithic environment. The principle theme for the landscape development is a half open pasture woodland, which was formed by the domestic animals of the first farmers. The first domestic animals, sheep and cattle of old species, have already begun with their 'work' for the landscape development. In a second step the AOZA has since 1999, been building up a 'Neolithic village' as an open air museum on the project area in the immediate neighborhood of original prehistoric grave monuments. The third and final step will be the opening of a permanent exhibition about "Mankind and Environment in Prehistory" (planned for 2005).

In the framework of the new established European Project "Pathways to Cultural Landscapes" (see also www.pcl-eu.de) the Research and Technology Center West coast of the University of Kiel in Busum and the AOZA will turn its attention to the aspect of the landscape and cultural historic heritage today is under rapid transformation because of changes in agricultural practices, urbanization and industrialization. Cultural time vertical studies, focused on palaeological and archaeological research on selected periods from stone age to medieval times, will describe the interactions between man and the environment. The Albersdorf project provides a basis for decisions regarding the sustainable development and tourism of the cultural landscape.

The cultural landscape of the Albersdorf Geest area will be communicated to the public by means of cultural paths, seminars and exhibitions. Communication between the project participants, to which for example also English Heritage belongs, and to the general public is one of the important aims of the project. The general public information programme includes university lectures and the extension of the educational programme of AOZA (lectures, evening classes, excursions). Starting point for the cultural path ways is the Neolithic landscape park AOZA. The AOZA performs additional measures as reconstructions of buildings, exhibitions and special programmes for young people (compare the article in Twinning Newsletter No. 39, February 2001!). All the results of the international partners will be published regularly on the World Wide Web under the address: wvvw.pcl-eu.de Please take a look into a very interesting part of our cultural heritage in Europe!

design: Kai M. Wurm
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