Hauterive, Laténium. Photo: www.latenium.ch

Pile Dwellings in Switzerland

Around one thousand pile dwellings in six countries are known (Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia). A project by UNESCO comprises a selection of 111 archaeological pile dwelling sites.

The property comprises the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements dating from 5 000 to 500 BC: these are merely situated underwater, on lake shores, along rivers or on wetlands.

Due to the exceptional waterlogged conditions, the organic material was preserved, providing us with a detailed image of the living conditions of these prehistoric populations and, too,  providing unique knowledge of their social, economic and ecological interactions.

The results of over 150 years of research on the pile dwelling sites had a considerable influence on our understanding of the development of the early agrarian societies of the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages and the interactions between the regions around the Alps in particular.

Museums and archaeological sites in Switzerland present this history. The following is not an exhaustive list of museums featuring pile dwellings:

Museum Burghalde in Lenzburg, the historical museums of Bern, Biel and La Neuveville, the Pile-Dwellings Museum in Lüscherz, the Historical Museum in Murten, the  Geneva Museum of Art and History, the Wiggetaler Museum in Lucerne, the Laténium Parc in Hauterive, the Musée de l`Areuse in Boudry, the Museum Nidwalden in Stansstadt, the Museum Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen, the archaeological museum in Olten, the historical museum in Arbon, the archaeological museum in Frauenfeld, the museum im Kornhaus in Rorschach, the archaeological museum in Lausanne, the Yverdon museum in Yverdon-les-Bains, the Museum of Prehistory in Zug and the museums in Pfäffikon, Meilen, Horgen and Wetzikon.

(Source and further information: www.palafittes.org).