The land cable of the German-Danish 400-kilovolt grid connection KONTEK has been in operation for 25 years and needs to be replaced. Before the replacement of the land cable can start in 2021, the soil has to be surveyed in advance along the route in search of archaeological ground monuments. By means of prospecting (sample sections), the preliminary archaeological study determines whether soil discolouration or discoveries indicate past human presence. The preliminary archaeological studies are carried out by the State Office for Culture and the Preservation of Historical Monuments of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Seven known ground monument sites concern the KONTEK line route. Because of the favourable topography conditions for settlement (close to water bodies), further ground monuments were suspected and three so-called ground monument maintenance areas were investigated.
For the preliminary archaeological studies, a total of nine areas with lengths of 80 to 310 metres were determined along the line route; these were surveyed from mid-October to early November. One area will be investigated subsequently. Prior to the archaeological sampling, amphibian protection fences were placed around the individual survey areas in order to keep the small animals away from the excavations.
After subsequent survey and approval by the ammunition recovery service, an excavator was used to dig out varying lengths of the two metres wide sample section, down to the mineral subsoil. At this level, existing structures are usually indicated by darker colours and provide evidence of archaeological finds.
In the scope of the preliminary studies, the archaeologists were able to prove the presence of ground monuments based on prehistoric fireplaces and settlement pits, but also by means of modern trenches. The uncovered archaeologically relevant findings were documented and secured.
The State Office for Culture and Historical Monuments of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is currently preparing a final report. This report will also indicate those ground monuments for which more extensive archaeological studies will have to take place prior to the laying works. Archaeological consultants will also supervise the construction phase so that construction downtimes due to other discovered ground monuments can be reduced.