A climate-induced Settlement Decline around 3400 BCE in Swiss Wetland Sites?

Hinz, Martin; Heitz, Caroline; Laabs, Julian (28 August 2020). A climate-induced Settlement Decline around 3400 BCE in Swiss Wetland Sites? (Unpublished). In: 26th EAA Annual Meeting. Online. 24.-30.08.2020.

Interlinking climate fluctuations and social transformations in search of past actors’ coping strategies connected to environmental challenges raise first and foremost epistemic questions concerned with. As a result of the identified methodological issues of using Resilience Theory and Adaptive Cycle Models in Prehistoric Archaeology, we will explore an alternative, data-driven inductive bottom-up approach by treating archaeological information and paleoclimatic proxy data with qualitative and quantitative methods of observation and inference. As a case study, we investigate the presumable causal relationship between a climatic deterioration around 3400 BCE and a decline of Neolithic settlements on lakeshores of the northern Alpine Foreland. Well-researched sites in Western Switzerland with complete information on size, development and internal site chronology provide the best examples.
Following the current research narrative, mainly rising lake levels following Holocene cold events are seen as a factor for the temporal interruption of settlement activities near lakeshores. During the period around 3400 BCE, intense winter precipitation in cold periods that were followed by warmer ones is seen as a factor for the temporal interruption of Neolithic settlement activities near lakeshores due to rising lake levels. Recurring flooding events which transformed settlement areas for decades into submerged landscapes affected highly mobile agrarian societies severely but not fatally. These populations clearly showed pronounced capabilities to adapt to challenging environmental situations and cope with them. Flood events are proposed here as being the major factor of turning down settlement activities at lakeshores. Their resilience towards these environmental impacts makes the wetland settlements practices in lakes and bogs of the Alpine Space a special example for the resilience of early agrarian societies. Methodologically, we hope to advance beyond pure ‘eyeballing’ and the superimposition of archaeological and paleoclimatic time series.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Hinz, Martin and Heitz, Caroline Franziska

Subjects:

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

Language:

English

Submitter:

Martin Hinz

Date Deposited:

07 Jan 2021 11:36

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2021 11:36

Additional Information:

436 NOW YOU CAN’T SEE ME! SEARCHING FOR RESILIENCE AS AN ARCHAEOLOGICALLY OBSERVABLE PHENOMENON

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/150090

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