Deglaciation, sea-level change and the Holocene colonization of Norway
The Norwegian coast facing the Atlantic Ocean was ice free as early as the Allerød oscillation in the late Pleistocene. The landscape was probably habitable for humans. It has, therefore, been assumed by several scholars that this coastline was visited or inhabited from the Late Glacial period onwards. In part, this argumentation is based on the presumed proximity of the Norwegian mainland and Doggerland, which existed between present-day Denmark and Great Britain because of a much lower global sea level. The aim of this paper is to examine the 14C dates available from the oldest Norwegian settlement sites, and to compare them to the Quaternary processes of deglaciation and sea-level change. The hypothesis is advanced that humans did not settle in present-day Norway before a sheltering passage of islands and peninsulas had developed between the Swedish west coast (Bohuslän) and the Oslo area. This happened in the second half of the Preboreal period, at approximately 9.3 cal ka BC, or in the final centuries of the tenth millenniun BC.