Good to know
Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps

Fascinating insights into life around 5'000 to 500 B.C

Did you know?

  • Along our lakeshores, Neolithic people contributed to the extraordinary global expansion of cultivated wheat, which now covers more than 2.25 million km2.
  • The first environmental damage occurred in the time of the pile dwellings over 5'000 years ago with the mass deforestation of woodland areas for farming.


The late Bronze Age was a flourishing period of pile-dwelling settlements. The settlements grew in size and the villages remained in the same location for longer periods, in some cases up to 100 years. Numerous amber and glass beads, finely decorated ceramics, elaborately crafted clothes pins and engraved bracelets have been found, indicating an increase in wealth. All this came to an abrupt end as a result of a cold phase that began in 850 BC. Thanks to the preservative properties of wetland soils and to scientific research, excavations have yielded an extraordinary wealth of information about prehistoric populations. These archaeological sites must be protected, for they have certainly not yet revealed all their secrets. They are not easy to visit because they often lie at the bottom of lakes or are buried underground. The most significant archaeological finds can however be seen in museums and parks such as the Laténium in Hauterive, Neuchâtel.