Period I

Hauterive, Laténium. Photo: www.latenium.ch

Pile Dwellings in the Alps

About one thousand pile dwellings in six countries are known (Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia). A project by the UNESCO comprises a selection of 111 archaeological pile dwelling sites. The property is composed by the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements dating from 5 000 to 500 BC which are merely situated under water, on lake shores, along rivers or in Wetland.

Due to the exceptional waterlogged conditions, the organic material was preserved and gave a detailed image of the living conditions of these prehistoric populations, 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 the understanding of the development of the early agrarian societies of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age in general, and the interactions between the regions around the Alps in particular.

Museums and archaeological sites in Switzerland present this history. The following not exhaustive list of museums of pile dwellings: museum Burghalde in Lenzburg, historical museums of Bern, Biel and Neuveville, the pile-dwelling museum in Lüscherz, the historical museum in Murten, museum of art and history in Geneva, the Wiggetaler museum in Lucerne, the Laténium Parc in Hauterive, Museum de l`Areuse in Boudry, 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).