Shortly after 4100 BC the Ertebølle began to expand along the Baltic coast at least as far as Rügen.Shortly thereafter it was replaced by the Funnelbeaker culture.
The environment most like the then range of the Ertebølle is the Wadden Sea region of the North Sea from the Netherlands to Denmark.
Due to chance fluctuations in the sea level during Ertebølle occupation of the coast and subsequently, many of the culture sites are currently under 3m-4m of water.
In the 1890s, the National Museum of Denmark excavated heaps of oyster shells there, mixed with mussels, snails, bones and bone, antler and flint artifacts, which were evaluated as kitchen middens (Danish køkkenmødding), or refuse dumps.
Accordingly, the culture is less commonly named the Kitchen Midden.
In recent years archaeologists have found the acronym EBK most convenient, parallel to LBK for German Linearbandkeramik (Linear Pottery culture) and TRB for German Trichterbecher, Danish Tragtbæger (Funnelbeaker culture) and Dutch trechterbekercultuur.