The Celts and Romans in Bern
23 November 2021
The area of the city of Bern was already inhabited in the Iron Age (after 800 BC) and during the Roman occupation (15 BC – 400 AD). The small informative exhibition shows the remains of this history on the Enge peninsula (Engehalbinel).
Since the Iron Age, several Celtic tribes have lived in the Swiss Mittelland. These tribes shared the Celtic culture but were not politically united. The Helvetians were the largest tribe in this area. The oppidum walls from the second and first century BC are still partly preserved and accessible.
Around 15 BC, the area became part of the Roman Empire. Before the conquest, there were already (trade) contacts, however.
In the first century AD, during the Roman occupation, the settlement started to look more and more like a typical Roman town, a vicus.
A small archaeological exhibition shows this history and the romanisation of the local Celtic population, for example, through houses, workshops, bathhouses, an amphitheatre and Gallo-Roman temples where the population worshipped local Celtic, Roman and Eastern gods.
In the second half of the 3rd century, the Pax Romana ended, and the place was abandoned, probably due to invasions by Germanic tribes and Roman civil wars.
It was not until 1191 that Duke Berchtold of Zähringen (1160-1218) founded Bern.
(Source and more information: www.be.ch/archaeologie).