Early Bronze Age of Switzerland: Situation and Chronology in the East (Alpine Rhine Valley)

Brunner, Mirco (15 June 2017). Early Bronze Age of Switzerland: Situation and Chronology in the East (Alpine Rhine Valley). In: Reinecke´s Heritage Reinecke´s Heritage. Terminology, Chronology and Identity in Central Europe between 2300 and 1600 BC Humboldt-Kolleg. Chateau Křtiny. 12.-15.06.2017.

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The Alps in southern Central Europe act as a barrier and communication space at the same time. While the mountains prevent mobility, the valleys and passes create natural axes for material exchange and communication. The Alpine Rhine valley forms the main access to the central Alps and leads directly into the south alpine area between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. In prehistoric times this central axis was used as a settlement area and formed an excellent alpine transit route. Already Neolithic finds show evidence of exchange and communication between inner alpine and pre-alpine regions. These exchanges can be traced through the pottery styles. From the beginning of the Bronze Age clear influences from the northern and southern regions are noticeably in favour of trade routes across the alpine passes. Between 3000–2500 BC the region is subject to massive changes which cause a push effect towards marginal, less densely populated areas. The broad range of local resources in new territories and strategically well-controlled areas suggest simultaneously a pull effect towards the Alps. Therefore, the Bronze Age is the period for which the most intense prehistoric land expansion can be postulated in the Alps. The Bronze Age chronology for the inner alpine area was always based on comparisons of the material culture from the Swiss midlands and southern Germany. Since the 1920s, archaeologists have divided the Early Bronze Age into two chronological phases (Bronze A1 and A2). Until a few years ago there existed only a couple of old radiocarbon dates to prove the chronology. On the bases of the early radiocarbon dates of Singen, Sion, Petit Chasseur and Savognin, Padnal the beginning of the Early Bronze Age in the Alpine Rhine Valley was dated around 2200 BC.
New radiocarbon dates from different sites such as graves and settlements give us the opportunity to get a clearer view on the absolute dating of the sites from this area. With the SNF-Project: Chronologie, Mobilität und Kulturtransfer am Beispiel einerinneralpinen Siedlungslandschaft. Eine landschaftsarchäologische Untersuchung des zentralen Alpenraums we were able to generate new samples for Radiocarbon dates from Neolithic and Bronze Age Sites such as Lutzengüetle, Donath, Sursés, Laax-Salums and Savognin, Padnal. I am going to present an overview of the situation and a revised chronology of the Early Bronze Age sites from the inner alpine area and recommend a radiocarbon-based view on the development of the material culture.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences > Pre- and Early History

UniBE Contributor:

Brunner, Mirco


900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)




Mirco Brunner

Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2017 10:42

Last Modified:

04 Nov 2019 11:47

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Archaeology, Bronze Age, Early Bronze Age, Chronology





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