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"Lake dwellers", or "Lake peoples" inhabited Switzerland from 4300 to 800 BC. The first discovery in Europe of a prehistoric lake village was made in Lake Zurich in 1854.

Villages were built on the shores of lakes from the late Neolithic to the Bronze age.

They were first rediscovered on Lake Zurich after the dry winter of 1853-4 left the water level particularly low.

Subsequently they were found on other lakes, including Lakes Biel, Neuchâtel, Murten, Lucerne, Zug, Geneva and Constance.

Immersed world

Archaeologists uncover traces of lake dwellers.
A lake dwellers' settlement has been found at Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland. It is the most recent discovery of its kind and – even more important - the first to be found in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. A team of underwater archaeologists is now diving beneath the lake to find out more about the settlement's Neolithic people.
(SF/swissinfo, February 2008)

Pile dwellings: UNESCO World Heritage Candidature

Places to go

Our Google Map
Outdoor archeo parks


in France (near the Swiss Jura)
Excellent site from France
Between northern and southern traditions
external image village1_r1_c3_f3.jpgThe organization of the village, as seen at __Clairvaux II__in the 35th century (3470-3445 BCE.)
with the house gables facing the lake, is identical to villages in western Switzerland.

Map based on Pétrequin
Map based on Pétrequin

Northwest of the Alps, two different concepts of village organization came into contact with each other.

"On the other hand, in northwest Switzerland at the same period, villages were laid out quite differently, with houses whose central axis ran parallel to the shore. These constructions are arranged on either side of a central street, which runs perpendicular to the shore.
These two designs highlight the differences between two cultural groups with different traditions : Cortaillod in the south, of southern origin and still disposed towards a nomadic form of agriculture, and Pfynin the north, which became sedentary much earlier."

Steinzeit; das Experiment,1178113657.html Videos from the living archeo experiment of 4 families living in lakedwelller houses. (All the videos are embedded here.)
Screen shot of,1178113657.html


between Lucerne and Olten
Die Häuser
Die Häuser sind – mit Ausnahme der Dächer – wegen den guten Erhaltungsbedingungen weit bekannt. Typisch sind Böden aus Rundhölzern oder Balken (4 + 27). Häufig sind sie direkt auf dem Torf oder der Seekreide platziert. Manchmal gibt es aber auch eine Unterlage aus Ästen oder in der Form eines Holzrostes. Eine abgehobene Bauweise – also Pfahlbauten – wurde im Wauwilermoos nie nachgewiesen. Verschiedene Bauteile aus Holz zeigen uns, dass die Bautechnik recht fortgeschritten war (9), die Häuser standen wegen dem feuchten Boden jedoch nur wenige Jahre. In allen Häusern findet man Feuerstellen aus Lehm (15). In den Häusern wurden auch Haustiere, Rinder, Ziegen und Schweine gehalten. Wie gross die Dörfer waren, ist nicht bekannt. Einige Siedlungen hatten wahrscheinlich nur fünf bis sechs Häuser, andere sicher mehr als 20. Dörfer mit mehr als 100 Einwohnern waren wohl die Ausnahme. Einige Dörfer waren von Zäunen umgeben, andere nicht. In den 1930er-Jahren rekonstruierte Hans Reinerth, der 1933 einen hohen Posten im nationalsozialistischen Regime übernahm, Egolzwil 2 als fast festungsartige Konstruktion mit einem Hafen (10). Die Wirklichkeit sah wohl anders aus und heute gehen wir eher von einfachen Dörfern am Seeufer aus (11).

The houses
"The houses - with the exception of the roofs - because of the good preservation conditions is widely known. Typical soils of round wood or bar (4 + 27). They are often placed directly on the peat or the limnic chalk. Sometimes there is also a base of branches or in the form of a wooden grate. A detached construction method - stilts - was never detected in Wauwilermoos. Various components of wood show us that the construction technology was quite advanced (9), the houses were due to the wet ground but only a few years. In all houses there are fire pits made of clay (15). In the homes, pets, cattle, goats and pigs were kept. How big were the villages is not known. Some settlements were probably only five or six houses, others certainly more than 20 Villages with more than 100 people were probably the exception. Some villages were surrounded by fences, others not. In the 1930s reconstructed Reinerth Hans, who took over in 1933 a high post in the Nazi regime, Egolzwil 2 as almost fortress-like construction with a port (10). The reality was probably different and today we tend to go from simple villages on the shore of the lake (11). (Google Translate)

Archaeological discovery path
The Archaeological Wauwilermoos learning path includes six stations, all located in the most important sites around the former Wauwilersee. Start and end point is the first station, the lake-dwelling Wauwil, with the reconstruction of three pile dwellings and a modern information pavilion.

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