Dienstag, 17. Juli 2018

SISA theory, part 2, July 27th

SISA 1, 2018

 27.07.2018: Theory 2, Hotel Piz Platta, 9:00-16:00

Session 2, Part 1, Mirco Brunner , UBE
9:00 – 10:00

Chronology, cultural transfer and networks in the central Alps. New examples and case studies from the inner alpine area in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The Alps in southern Central Europe act as a barrier and communication space at the same time. While the mountains prevent mobility, the valleys and passes create natural axes for material exchange and communication. The Alpenrhein valley forms the main access to the central Alps and leads directly into the south alpine area between the Lake Maggiore and the Lake Como. In prehistoric times this central axis was used as a settlement area and formed an excellent alpine transit route. Already Neolithic finds show evidence of exchange and communication between inner alpine and pre-alpine regions. These exchanges can be traced through the pottery styles. From the beginning of the Bronze Age clear influences from the northern and southern regions are noticeably in favour of trade routes across the alpine passes. Between 3000-2500 BC the region is subject to massive changes which cause a push effect towards marginal, less densely populated areas. The broad range of local resources in new territories and strategically well-controlled areas suggest simultaneously a pull effect towards the Alps. Therefore, Bronze Age is the period for which the most intense prehistoric land expansion can be postulated in the Alps. Traditional approaches in Swiss archaeology draw borders on "Bronze Age cultures" on the basis of stylistic characteristics of ceramics differ from each other. Constructs like the "Inner Bronze Age culture” (Eastern Switzerland)" or the "Rohne culture" (Western Switzerland) are more to be seen as pottery traditions than cultures. "Foreign influences" (imports, imitations, acquisitions, new creations) also refer to a cultural transfer between social groups in space and time.
The Neolithic and Bronze Age chronology for the inner alpine area was always based on comparisons of the material culture from the Swiss Plateau and southern Germany. Until a few years ago there existed only a couple of old radiocarbon dates in this region. New radiocarbon dates from different sites such as graves and settlements give us the opportunity to get a clearer view on the absolute dating of the sites from this area. With the SNF-Project: Chronologie, Mobilität und Kulturtransfer am Beispiel einer inneralpinen Siedlungslandschaft. Eine landschaftsarchäologische Untersuchung des zentralen Alpenraums“ we were able to generate new samples for Radiocarbon dates from Sites such as Lutzengüetle, Donath, Sursés, Laax-Salums and Savognin, Padnal.
I am going to present an overview of the situation and a revised chronology of the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites from the inner alpine area and recommend a radiocarbon-based view and a on the development of the material culture. The second aim is to suggest possible models of mobility and cultural transfer in the central Alps. 

Session 2, Part 2, Albert Hafner, UBE
10:15 – 11:15

Early human activities in high-alpine zones: Insights on mobility, pastoralism and climate change from melting glaciers.

Alpine hunting was probably the motive for Mesolithic populations to first intrude into high altitudes of the European Alps and earliest indicators of high-alpine pastoralism probably date back to 5000 BC. In the years between 2003 and 2012, in the Bernese Alps several hundred archaeological objects appeared from a melting ice patch at the high-mountain Schnidejoch pass (2756 m a.s.l). A connection between the accessibility of the pass and changes in glacier extension due to the climate is probable. It can be assumed that advancing glaciers in the Holocene disrupted transport routes and significantly affected ways of subsistence. The lecture gives an overview on ice related archaeology of high altitudes, the site of Schnidejoch is central, but further sites are included.

Session 2, Part 3, Thomas Reitmaier, ADG/Chur

Prehistoric pastoral economy and upland exploitation in the Alps
The period in which prehistoric societies first began to move their livestock to pastureland at higher elevations is a much discussed and methodologically complex question. Thanks to a number of research projects realized in the last years, pastoral and dairy activities in mid- and high-mountain areas are comprehensibly attested for the Iron and the Bronze Age. Archaeological features connected to this form of pastoralism ("Alpwirtschaft") include seasonally occupied dry-stone buildings at altitudes above 2000 m asl as well as ceramic vessels that had been used to process milk. These finds indicate that humans had a major impact on the natural Alpine landscape during the Metal Ages as part of a typical mixed mountain agriculture. In contrast, concerning the Neolithic, archaeological and palynological evidence for pastoralism in the uplands is still sparse, contradictory and highly disputed. This paper summarizes the current state of research for the prehistoric pastoral economy and exploitation processes in the Alps within a wider spatio-temporal and cultural historical context.

Session 2, Part 4, Philippe Della Casa, UZH, FB PRA
14:00 – 14:45

Summary: chaîne opératoire

The concept of chaîne opératoire – the production chain, process workflow, or operational web – i.e. the question of how and through which technical stages ores were treated, smelted and transformed into raw copper, is crucial to the understanding of prehistoric mining and metal production. The issue is a complex one, since it encompasses a broad spectrum of sciences and approaches. To name the most important: geology and mineralogy with regard to ores; analytical archaeology in identification and interpretation of structural features and tools relating to ore mining, beneficiation and smelting; inorganic chemistry with respect to smelting processes, as well as structural analysis on semi-finished, finished, and waste products. Furthermore, a spatial, organizational and social understanding of all processes involved is sought.

Session 2, Part 5, all teachers and participants

15:00 – 16:00

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