Introduction: Neolithic and Bronze Age pile dwellings in Europe. An outstanding archaeological resource with a long research tradition and broad perspectives

Hafner, Albert; Hinz, Martin; Mazurkevich, Andrey; Dolbunova, Ekaterina; Pranckenaite, Elena (2020). Introduction: Neolithic and Bronze Age pile dwellings in Europe. An outstanding archaeological resource with a long research tradition and broad perspectives. In: Hafner, Albert; Dolbunova, Ekaterina; Mazurkevich, Andrey; Pranckenaite, Elena; Hinz, Martin (eds.) Settling Waterscapes in Europe. The Archaeology of Neolithic and Bronze Age Pile-Dwellings. OSPA – Open Series in Prehistoric Archaeology: Vol. 1 (pp. 1-6). Heidelberg: Propylaeum, Heidelberg University Library

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Research on prehistoric lakeside settlements began more than 150 years ago in Switzerland. Today, comparable settlements all over Europe belong to the best-known archaeological sites of the continent. The special conditions of the lake dwelling sites under water or waterlogged conditions in lakes and bogs led to an excellent preservation of organic materials, and settlement structures from long ago are discovered in an extraordinarily good state of preservation. Substantially preserved wooden architecture, overwhelming amounts of pottery, numerous organic implements made of wood, bark, antler and bone, textile as well as extensive plant and faunal remains made the pile dwellings welcome archaeological sources. From the 1980s onwards, high-precision dating of wooden structures by dendrochronology or a combination of dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating allowed reconstructing the architectural evolution of buildings and settlements in many cases. Precisely-dated archaeological layers help to follow the stylistic evolution of pottery and tools. The investigation of botanical and animal remains from these layers provides detailed insights into the economic conditions and long-distance relations of ancient societies. Prehistoric lakeside settlements show an extraordinarily vivid picture of the past, a glimpse into everyday life as well as reactions to and coping with climate-induced years of crisis.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences > Pre- and Early History

UniBE Contributor:

Hafner, Albert, Hinz, Martin


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






OSPA – Open Series in Prehistoric Archaeology


Propylaeum, Heidelberg University Library




Albert Hafner-Lafitte

Date Deposited:

25 Jan 2021 14:08

Last Modified:

24 May 2023 14:23




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