The kitchen midden at Norsminde Fjord, south of Århus, might not be Denmark's largest, but the information uncovered during archaeological digs in 1972 and 1988 has shed important light on the transition from early to late Stone Age. The pile of shells is up to a metre high, and has two layers. The bottom layer contains mostly oyster shells discarded at the end of the Ertebølle Culture during the early Stone Age. The upper layer is made up mostly of cockle shells from the Funnel Beaker Culture at the start of the late Stone Age. The presence of both types of shells indicates that people were living in the settlement during an important cultural and social watershed around the year 3900 BC, when the transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer was made.
The Norsminde find gave modern archaeologists their first chance to excavate a midden with layers of shells that clearly indicate the transition from early to late Stone Age. Because the settlement was inhabited at the time of the transition, it offers a rare opportunity to study the cultural and natural changes around the year 4000 BC. The site has remained untouched during recorded history, and the excavation has yielded new and detailed information about the rise of agricultural societies in Denmark. Among the revelations from Norsminde are a discovery that people living along the coasts were not nomads. It also tells us that hunting remained an important activity during the early part of the late Stone Age, meaning that the first farmers were also hunters and fishers.