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On the Cimbrian peninsula, comprising the continental part of Denmark and part of northern Germany, the period 3100–2800 BCE is characterised by a decline in burial activity and by reforestation in some areas. Following the peak of megalithic construction by the Funnel Beaker societies and preceding new building activities by the Corded Ware societies, this period can be referred as the ‘Dark Ages’ of the north. Our analysis of this period within the context of a German Research Foundation Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1266) project resulted in a new perspective on the role of settlement patterns associated with a ceramic type known as Store Valby. In addition to small domestic sites, such as Schönhagen LA 107 (Brodersby), which dominate on the western and southern parts of the Cimbrian peninsula, research has identified giant settlements to the west, from around 2900 BCE, and palisade enclosures to the east. Despite the diversity of regional developments in the western Baltic, we think that the general characterisation of these centuries as an independent phase of socio-environmental transformations can serve as a model for the entire region.