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We present new data on Early Mesolithic settlements in northern Sweden and discuss the process of pioneer colonization. A new set of radiocarbon dates from archaeological sites push deglaciation of northern Fennoscandia further back in time and demonstrate the rapid arrival of pioneer settlers. Environmental data reveal a highly productive early postglacial setting with plant communities unmatched in present ecosystems. The chronological and technological setting supports immigration from the north and northwest with pioneers relying on a long history of enculturating northern subarctic landscapes.