During the last ice age the mighty Scandinavian glaciers almost reached Amsterdam. Blocking the way north of rivers like Rhine and Meuse. The reason why they still turn east, when entering the Netherlands.
Just outside Amsterdam, one can clearly see remains of those glaciers, and their moraines. Higher sandy ground with gravel and boulders, slowly changing into lows hills, when going east and north.
Although Holland was not constantly covered by eternal ice, the climate was extremely cold and harsh. Probably like today in northern Canada or Siberia.
No place to live permanently. Only small groups of roaming hunters. Both Neanderthal and modern human.
With climate becoming gradually milder, from 10.000 years ago, people started to settle.
For today's Holland, the central western part of the Netherlands, possibilities were limited. As the sea level constantly rose, because of the melting ice cap, the low land got flooded and changed into a lagune behind a row of dune islands. With all the rivers supplying fresh water, it became marshland, a peat wilderness. The fast growing peat kept up with the rising sea. But it remained pretty mostly wet land, with lakes, and crisscrossed by many rivers and creeks.
Early permanent habitation was only possible a few slightly elevated spots. Like along the sea and river dunes. And of course on the higher grounds east of Amsterdam.
There, a great number of neolitic barrows bear witness of Bronze Age farming communities.
The wet part, the peat wilderness, could support only a small population. Mainly wandering hunters and fishermen.
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