The vertical distribution of eight heavy metals (Hg, Cu, Zn, Cr, Co, Ni, Pb, Cd) in dated sediments of four sedimentary profiles from the central part of Lake Constance was examined. From 1900 to about 1960 - 1970, a general increase of all heavy metals was observed. After this time, the concentrations of most of the metals decreased. As compared with pre-1900 “natural” metal concentrations, Cd and Pb have been enriched the strongest (enrichment factors 4.0 and 3.8 resp.), whereas Ni and Co exhibit least civilizational influences (enrichment factors 1.5 and 1.9 resp.). Cu, Cr, Zn and Hg were enriched by a factor between 2 - 3. Elements which were not influenced by anthropogenic processes - such as K and Li - remained unaffected over the whole vertical sequence. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which were also studied in the same sediment material by Grimmer and Böhnke show a similar pattern. Within a sedimentary profile the concentration ratio benzo (a) pyrene: cadmium remained about constant. Combustion of coal is believed to be the common source of both heavy metals and PAH and seems to be responsible for the general distribution pattern of both groups of pollutants. In addition, local sources - both domestic and industrial - are assumed to have delivered additional heavy metal pollution.