The aim of this paper is to review studies on past soil erosion in small catchments of central Europe and highlight the long-term feedback perspective of such erosion and sedimentation processes with regard to an ecosystem, including socio-economic and human impact. It is based on an earlier review paper by Dotterweich but includes more recent research obtained in the past 4 years. It concentrates on the reconstruction of the long-term soil erosion history, including rare extreme events, by analysing erosional sites and colluvial deposits on foot slopes, dry valleys, and fans in small 0-order catchments pedologically as well as sedimentologically. Alluvial deposits of small tributaries and lake sediments were also incorporated. Extreme events seem to be particularly important factors, playing a key role in the evolution of past human-environment systems. Such data sets are also essential to calibrate or enhance existing soil erosion models to obtain regional soil loss estimates, which are critical in creating more sustainable land use systems in changing climatic conditions, and with progressively mounting pressure to intensify land use.