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Bronze Age village discovered at the bottom of a Swiss lake

Underwater archaeologists exploring the waters of Lake of the Four Cantons in Switzerland have found traces of a prehistoric habitat on the bottom. The discovery is an important historical testimony. It also shows that the Lucerne area was inhabited by humans much earlier than previously assumed. The Bronze Age village is evidence that surrounding area
Published: April 29, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:27
Bronze Age village discovered at the bottom of a Swiss lake

Underwater archaeologists exploring the waters of Lake of the Four Cantons in Switzerland have found traces of a prehistoric habitat on the bottom.

The discovery is an important historical testimony. It also shows that the Lucerne area was inhabited by humans much earlier than previously assumed. The Bronze Age village is evidence that surrounding area were already inhabited by humans 3,000 years ago. This is a groundbreaking discovery in the context of the history of the region. Until now, historians believed that this was a period 2000 years shorter.

Bronze Age village explored by divers
Archaeological diver at work photo: Unterwasserarchäologie UWAD Zurich / Canton Lucerne

Underwater archaeologists exploring Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne have found traces of houses or a village built on stilts. They made their discovery at a depth of about 4 metres, in the vicinity of the harbour where pipeline laying work is taking place.

This finally confirms the theory that in ancient times the Lake Lucerne basin was a settlement area. reads the press release issued by the authorities of the canton of Lucerne

Hidden history
settlement sunk to the bottom of the lake
The findings of the archaeologists have revealed a completely new facet of the region’s history photo: Unterwasserarchäologie UWAD Zurich / Canton Lucerne

Archaeologists have been speculating for some time about the prehistoric settlement in this area. They have repeatedly explored the lake in search of evidence, but a major obstacle has been the thick layer of mud at the bottom of the lake.

sunken prehistoric settlement
Archaeologist exploring the lake bed photo Unterwasserarchäologie UWAD Zurich / Canton Lucerne

The solution to the problem was to start work on the pipeline. As a result The researchers located about 30 piles and five fragments of ceramics. Both wood and ceramics have already been examined. As a result, experts have determined their age to be about 1000 B.C. Therefore, it is likely that a Bronze Age village existed at this site.

With this important discovery, underwater archaeologists will now surely begin a much more intensive and detailed research. With a foothold already established, they will probably in the coming years uncover and bring to the surface the history that rests buried at the bottom of Lake Lucerne.

flooded Bronze Age prehistoric village
Further research is just a matter of time photo Unterwasserarchäologie UWAD Zurich / Canton Lucerne
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Interestingly, the find coincides with the 10th anniversary of the award of UNESCO World Heritage status to prehistoric stilt habitats located in Alpine countries – including Switzerland. A total of 111 of the most important sites in six countries have received the label. Of these, as many as 56 are located in Switzerland.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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