Radiocarbon dating in archaeology: New examples and case studies from the inner alpine area in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Brunner, Mirco (14 September 2017). Radiocarbon dating in archaeology: New examples and case studies from the inner alpine area in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Unpublished). In: 1st Bern Workshop on 14C Analyses with the Mini-Carbon Dating System MICADAS. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern. 13.-15.09.2017.

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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 Alpenrhein valley forms the main access to the central Alps and leads directly into the south alpine area between the Lake Maggiore and the 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. From the beginning of the Neolithic to the Bronze Age clear in fluences 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 Bronze Age is the period for which the most intense prehistoric land expansion can be postulated in the Alps. The Neolithic and Bronze Age chronology for the inner alpine area was always based on comparisons of the material culture from dendrodated lake dwellings from Switzerland or southern Germany. Until a few years ago there existed only a couple of old radiocarbon dates to prove the chronology for the inner alpine area. The archaeology showed its signi ficant in fluence in the development of the radiocarbon technology in the last decades. 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: “Chronology, mobility and cultural transfer. A landscape archaeological study of the central Alps (P0BEP1_165306) “ we were able to generate new samples for Radiocarbon dates from Neolithic and Bronze Age Sites such as Lutzengüetle, Savognin, Padnal Donath, Sursés and Laax-Salums. I am going to present an overview of the situation and a revised chronology of the Neolithic and 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 (Speech)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Brunner, Mirco


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


[UNSPECIFIED] University of Bern, Institute of Archaeological Science, Prehistory Department
[UNSPECIFIED] University of Bern, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Research Group Prehistory Archeology
[UNSPECIFIED] Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ at Kiel University


Projects 0 not found.




Mirco Brunner

Date Deposited:

10 Nov 2017 14:20

Last Modified:

10 Nov 2017 14:20

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Radiocarbon, 14C, Switzerland, Neolithic period, Bronz Age, Archaeology, absolute dating




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