WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: Breaking Waterlogged Ground. Challenging the Dichotomy Between Wet And Dry Land Based on Evidence Gathered From the Waterscapes of Caton Zug (Switzerland)

By Renata Huber, Eda Gross
Amt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie, Direktion des Innern

Dock for logboats
Reconstructed dock for logboats as one possible function

ABSTRACT:  Zug takes its name from an old term for hauling in fishing nets (zuc). Current research underlines the significance of the use of wetland resources at several sites from at least the Neolithic onwards. The excellent preservation conditions at wetland sites allow us to make a distinction between various patterns of resource management at different sites. The abundance and composition of the recorded finds (including animal and plant remains) seem to vary depending on the location, function, and seasonality of each individual site.

At Cham-Eslen, around 4000 BC, a single building on a shallow seems to have been used predominantly for fishing, as we can tell from the discovery of fishing gear and a large amount of fish bones. Trans-disciplinary studies carried out on a large bone midden and its overlying loam layers at the site of Zug-Riedmatt (around 3200 BC) revealed evidence of seasonally differentiated subsistence activities including intense red deer hunting, fishing, gathering, and processing of different wetland species in and around the river delta and lakeshore. The Roman mill at Cham-Hagendorn – preserved in an abandoned riverbed – gives us a glimpse of the use of a watercourse as a source of energy. Finally, a recent excavation in a silted-up small lake called “Bibersee” (beaver lake) yielded a very rich assemblage of fishing gear (traps, fences, a dugout) from the Middle Ages, which fit in well with the site of Steinhausen-Sumpfstrasse West.

When tracing backwaters and wetlands in pre-industrial Canton Zug, a variety of waterscapes emerge. Lakes, deltas, riparian zones, rivers and swamps of different sizes cover a large area of Canton Zug and paint a picture of abundant food resources as well as transport and communication routes and energy sources over the course of time.

To see Renata Huber and Eda Gross’ WARP30 PowerPoint click here:  Breaking Waterlogged Ground from the Waterscapes of Canton Zug, Switzerland

Composite tool with elaborately wrapped handle from Cham-Eslen
Composite tool with elaborately wrapped handle from Cham-Eslen

WARP30 Abstract/PowerPoint: Getting Out of the ‘Glutinous Ghetto': The Acknowledgement of the Lake-Dwelling Myth

By Marc-Antoine Kaeser
Director of the Latenium Museum, and associate professor at the University Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

To see the excellent WARP30 Conference PowerPoint for the following Abstract click here:  Getting Out of the Glutinous Ghetto by Marc-Antoine Kaeser  (it is large so may have to download)

Pioneers of the progress of civilisation
Pioneers of the progress of civilisation

Since 2011, the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage. This reflects the importance of the study of these sites, both in the shaping of the methods of prehistoric science, and for the understanding of habitat, economy, craft and everyday life during the recent prehistory of Europe.

On further examination, one may wonder however about the reasons for the very late integration of this field of research into mainstream archaeology. For a decade now, specialists of the field have identified several motives for this poor recognition, which Francis Pryor qualifies as a “glutinous ghetto” noxious to the dialogue within the discipline. These motives may be summarized in a few keywords: a strong methodological specialization detrimental to the widening of synchronic, cultural perspectives, approaches governed by functionalism, and explanatory schemes favouring environmental determinism.

Our contribution will show that in this matter, the burden of the history of research should also be taken into account. In fact, the development of lake-dwelling archaeology is closely related to its double, national and ideological instrumentalization. On the one hand, the discovery of the lake-dwellings has indeed contributed to the affirmation of the national identity of the new Swiss federal state founded in 1848 in the aftermath of the Sonderbund civil war. On the other hand, and in a more subtle way, what we define as the “lake-dwelling myth” has long served to promote the universal values of liberal progressivism. [see illustration above]

Accordingly, the “Lake-Dwellers” were mobilized in the fight against Pangermanism and Nazism – an embarrassing legacy for modern archaeological science. Until the end of the twentieth century, the archaeological community actually strived to refrain from all social and cultural interpretations, which might be suspected of ideological exploitation.

In this sense, the application to World Heritage which started in 2004 heralds the start of a new era in pile-dwelling research, fostered by a new generation of prehistorians, who take advantage of a renewed, critical and reflexive historiography in order to dispassionately address this potentially sensitive past.

Experimental Archaeology live

 

WARP30 Paper/PowerPoint: The Wooden Stone Age — A Paradise for Experimental Archaeologists

We hope to publish papers and PowerPoints given at the recent 30th Anniversary of WARP Conference, held June 28th — July 2nd, 2016 at the University of Bradford, England.  Urs Leuzinger provided me his Flash Drive at the conference with his Paper, both in Swiss and English (we publish in NewsWARP in all languages) and a PowerPoint PDF.  Here is part of his Abstract, and the whole thing can be seen in the WARP30 program catalog under the Conference menu category in NewsWARP.

The Wooden Stone Age–A Paradise for Experimental Archaeologists  by Urs Leuzinger, Department of Archaeology Thurgau (Frauenfeld, Switzerland)

Thanks to the excellent preservation conditions that prevailed in the waterlogged layers of the prehistoric wetland settlements around the Alps precise information is available on the architecture and implements that would not normally have survived the past millennia. Wooden objects in particular, but also textiles and botanical remains, complement the usual artefact categories of stone, pottery and metal. This lecture presents a selection of features and finds from pile-dwelling settlements that allow today’s craftspeople to create replicas.

To see the full paper in English and Swiss click on:  The Wooden Stone Age (English)The Wooden Stone Age (Swiss)  And the excellent PowerPoint:  The Wooden Stone Age PowerPoint Presentation

 

 

charred textiles
Charred Textiles found in Swiss Lake Dwelling Wet Site
replicating textiles
Replicating Ancient Textiles from Swiss Wet Site
spindle whorl
Ancient wooden spindle whorl with yarn still adhering

spindle whorl drawings

Illustration of ancient spindle whorls found in Swiss Wet Sites

 

 

Ethnobotany Research at the Middle and Late Neolithic Semi-agricultural site of Hekelingen III

Archaeobotanist Dr. Welmoed Out, Moesgaard Museum, Department of Archaeological Science and Conservation and NewsWARP subscriber sent us two of her recent articles on the archaeobotany of a Dutch Neolithic wetland site:  Helelingen III:

2015  The best of both worlds:  Human impact and plant subsistence at the Middle and Late Neolithic semi-agricultural site of Hekelingen III (2900-2500 BC) (Out with Walter Dorfler, Germany) (Click Here)

and

2016  Wood usage at Dutch Neolithic wetland sites  (Click Here)

A. Paddle, B. Bow, C. Haft and detail of shaft hole  Dutch Neolithic Welmoed A. Out(A) Paddle, Acer sp.

(B)  Bow fragment, 2 views, Taxus sp.

(C & D) Haft and detail of shaft hole, Acer sp.

Image:  National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, the Netherlands

Marc-Antoine Kaeser’s papers on pile-dwellings around the Alps

Pile DwellingSince 2011, the Prehistoric pile-dwellings around the Alps have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage charter. This reflects the importance of the study of these sites, both in the shaping of the methods of prehistoric science, and for the understanding of habitat, economy, craft and everyday life during the recent prehistory of Europe.

In this sense, the application to World Heritage which started in 2004 heralds the start of a new era in pile-dwelling research, fostered by a new generation of prehistorians, who take advantage of a renewed, critical and reflexive historiography in order to dispassionately address this potentially sensitive past.
Marc-Antoine Kaeser
Directeur du Laténium – Parc et musée d’archéologie
Professeur associé à l’Institut d’archéologie, Université de Neuchâtel
Laténium – Espace Paul-Vouga – CH-2068 Hauterive

Marc-Antoine Kaeser, sent these three papers (in French–we publish in all languages) on his work and an update will be presented at WARP30, June 28–July 2nd, 2016 in Bradford, England WARP30 .  Hope you can attend.

KAESER M.-A. (1997). «Le pacifisme des Lacustres. Considérations sur les fondements idéologiques du Sonderfall suisse». Revue historique neuchâteloise [Neuchâtel] 1997: 297-306.
KAESER M.-A. (2000). «Le fantasme lacustre. Un mythe et ses implications idéologiques dans la Suisse du XIXe siècle». In L’homme préhistorique: Images et imaginaire (A. & J. Ducros eds.). Paris, L’Harmattan: 81-107.
KAESER M.-A. (2002). «L’autonomie des représentations, ou lorsque l’imaginaire collectif s’empare des images savantes. L’exemple des stations palafittiques». In Lebensbilder – Scènes de vie. Actes du colloque de Zoug, 13-14 mars 2001 (P. Jud & G. Kaenel eds.). Zug, GPS/AGUS: 33-40.