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Culture 2000

European Union


The cultural landscape of a North German rural region

The Albersdorf - Project

The county of Dithmarschen is a rural landscape region in the west of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Eastern Dithmarschen, the so-called "Geest" is characterized by a pleistocene moraine landscape, subdivided into raised bogs, valleys, forests and farmland.To the West the Dithmarscher Geest is limited by sand bars, bogs and salt marshes.

From an economic point of view the region of Dithmarschen can be characterized as a remote rural area. Thanks to the areas remoteness a great number of archaeological monuments since the Neolithic and Bronze Age have survived. In the Geest itself, no systematic archaeological inventory and research have been done in the past.

Since 1997 the "Archaeological-Ecological Centre Albersdorf" (AÖZA) is working -at re-creating a cultural landscape from the Neolithic (about 5.000 years ago) on an area of about 80 acres. To realize this idea, the project uses the following tools:
Through sustainable and near-natural development laid down in landscape-planning, AÖZA wants to control development in order to allow the long-term establishment of a landscape, the structure, proportion and other aspects of which, show strong resemblance to the Neolithic environment. The principle habitat required for such a landscape-development is fairly open pasture woodland, which was originally formed through grazing pressures from the domestic animals of the first farmers. In a second step the AÖZA is - since the summer of 1999 - building a "Neolithic village" as an open-air museum on the project site in the immediate vicinity of original prehistoric grave monuments.

In the Albersdorf-Project the FTZ and the AÖZA will pay attention to all aspects of the environmental and cultural history of the landscape in the Albersdorf Geest region. Today, the landscape and cultural-historic heritage is under rapid transformation because of changes in agricultural practices, urbanization and industrialization. Palaeological and archaeological studies on selected periods from Stone Age to Medieval times, will describe the interactions between man and environment through this time frame.. The Albersdorf project provides a basis for decision-making regarding sustainable development and tourism in the cultural landscape.

The cultural landscape of the Albersdorf Geest area shall be presented to the public by means of cultural paths, seminars and exhibitions. Communication between the project participants (meetings, exchange of staff, internet, conferences) and informing the general public is one of the most important aims of the project. University lectures, the extension of the educational program of AÖZA (lectures, evening classes, excursions) and communication with special interest groups (local authorities, environmental protection groups, farmers, potential sponsors) will be used as the main platform for relating information on the area and the project to a wide audience.

Starting point of the cultural path ways is the Neolithic landscape park AÖZA. The AÖZA also performs additional measures like reconstructions of buildings, exhibitions and special programs for young people.

more information



Project team:

Community of Alberdorf

Archeological and Ecological Centre Albersdorf (AÖZA)

Research- and Technology Centre Westcoast of the Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel
Coastal Archeology

Museum for Prehistory of Dithmarschen and Local Heritage Museum Heide


design: Kai M. Wurm
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