Das Neolithikum in der Schweiz

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Albert Hafner
Peter J. Suter


Neolithic research in Switzerland is inseparably bound with its numerous lake side settlements. They were already discovered in the middle of the 19th century and became famous as „Pfahlbauten“. The concept of Neolithic Cultures that was developed in the 1930’s by Emil Vogt was undoubtedly influenced by contemporaneous ethnological thinking („Kulturkreislehre“). In his publications Vogt expresses the conviction that „Neolithic Cultures“ are identical with population groups, tribes or peoples. As modern methods of absolute datings did not exist at that time his observations were dependant on typological comparisons. Most importantly, he could not differentiate chronological gaps of several hundred years. Without natural scientific dating methods and relying solely on topography he developed the view that the evolution of ceramics in a region can only be explained by the immigration of foreign people. His proposed chronological chart, which was updated in the 1960/70’s, is still in use today. However, in our opinion it is antiquated.
During the last two decades dendrochronology and C14 has offered a large number of absolute datings for the Neolithic period. This encourages us to follow new approaches of interpretation. Our concept is based on the well dated material of lake side settlements from Switzerland and Southern Germany. We propose a new time/space regionally defined chronological system that is primarily based on absolute dating taking also into consideration that different geographic regions show different evolutions. The idea of Neolithic „Cultures“ and associate folk behind them is abandoned and replaced by the neutral notion of „specific groupings of material finds („Fundkomplexgruppen“). Our proposed overview of the Neolithic in Switzerland elucidates more the gradual evolution of the archaeological material («Kulturwandel») in the 4th millennium BC on the
Swiss Plateau. Influences reach this zone variably from Western or Eastern directions depending on the historic period of time we are looking at. The appearance of the Europe-wide discernible beaker phenomena (corded ware/bell beakers) in the 3rd millennium BC also calls for new models of explanation.

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How to Cite
Hafner, Albert, and Peter J. Suter. 2012. “Das Neolithikum in Der Schweiz”. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology, February. https://doi.org/10.12766/jna.2003.4.