After more than 3500 years of occupation in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, the many lake-dwellings' around the Circum-Alpine region `suddenly' came to an end. Throughout that period alternating phases of occupation and abandonment illustrate how resilient lacustrine populations were against change: cultural/environmental factors might have forced them to relocate temporarily, but they always returned to the lakes. So why were the lake-dwellings finally abandoned and what exactly happened towards the end of the Late Bronze Age that made the lake-dwellers change their way of life so drastically? The new research presented here draws upon the results of a four-year-long project dedicated to shedding light on this intriguing conundrum. Placing a particular emphasis upon the Bronze Age, a multidisciplinary team of researchers has studied the lake-dwelling phenomenon inside out, leaving no stones unturned, enabling identification of all possible interactive socio-economic and environmental factors that can be subsequently tested against each other to prove (or disprove) their validity. By re-fitting the various pieces of the jigsaw a plausible, but also rather unexpected, picture emerges.
Francesco Menotti is professor of archaeology at IPAS, Basel University. His main research interests are wetland archaeology, prehistoric lake-dwellings of the Circum-Alpine region, trade and exchange in prehistoric Europe, and the Tripolye culture in Ukraine, with special emphasis placed upon the so-called giant-settlements or mega-sites.
Acknowledgements List of contributors List of figures List of tables Chapter 1: The lake-dwelling phenomenon: myth, reality and...archaeology Francesco Menotti Chapter 2: Bronze Age lacustrine settlements in the Circum-Alpine region: chronology, architectural styles, occupational patterns, and much more Joachim Koeninger Chapter 3: Dendrochronology and Bronze Age lake-dwellings on both sides of the Alps: from chronology to dendrotypology, highlighting settlement developments and structural woodland changes Andre Billamboz and Nicoletta Martinelli Chapter 4: Climatic variations in the Circum-Alpine area during the period 4500-2500 cal BP, as reflected by palaeohydrological changes Michel Magny Chapter 5: Micromorphological studies on wetland site formation processes: additional help for a better understanding of the lake-dwellings' final disappearance Philipp Wiemann and Philippe Rentzel Chapter 6: Vegetation history and plant economy in the Circum-Alpine region Bronze Age and early Iron Age environments: stability or major changes? Marlu Kuhn and Annekathi Heitz Chapter 7: Animal husbandry and hunting activities in the Late Bronze Age Circum-Alpine region Barbara Stopp Chapter 8: Bronze Age trade and exchange through the Alps: influencing cultural variability? Benjamin Jennings Chapter 9: The 3500-year-long lake-dwelling tradition comes to an end: what is to blame? Francesco Menotti Index