Period I

The Amber Route during the Roman Empire. Photo: Wikipedia.

Swiss Made Amber

The Greeks, Romans, Celtic and other European peoples highly valued amber, a precious stone. Archeological amber finds are made throughout Europe. The finds date from the older stone age ( c .10000-4000 BC), the later stone Age (c. 4000-1800 BC), the Bronze Age (c. 1800-500 BC) and Greek and Roman times.

The Roman (provincial) elite was also interested in the beautiful material and the European rivers and Roman roads were important ways of communication. Amber was also transported to Italy and an amber industry arose in Aquileia at the Adriatic sea. The products were widely distributed throughout the Roman Empire.

Towards the middle of the second century and in the following centuries the flourishing amber industry gradually dwindled away, due to the broken connection with northern Europe because of the invasions by ‘barbarians’.

Amber is found in large quantities in the Baltic sea and Scandinavian countries (the oldest finds are in Denmark), but also in Switzerland. The most important finds have been made at Münchenstein, south of Bern. It is not known whether amber was actually exported to Aquileia, but the Celtic/Rauraci people were skilled and experienced artisans as well and also used amber for their ornaments and jewelry. (Source: M. Ploug, Amber (Copenhagen 2000).