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Ferdinand Keller.

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THE



LAKE DWELLINGS OF SWITZERLAND



AKD OTHER PAETS OF EUKOPE






LONDON

VHINTED BY SPOTTISWOOKE AND CO.
BEW-STRBBT SQUARE



o




THE



LAKE DWELLINGS



OF



SWITZERLAND AND OTHER PARTS OF EUROPE



BY



DR. FERDINAND KELLER



PRESIDENT OP THE ANTIQUARIAN ASSOCIATION OF ZURICH



TRANSLATED AND ARRANGED



JOHN EDWARD LEE, F.S.A. F.G.S.

AUTHOR OF ' ISCA SILURUM ' ETC.



LONDON

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
1866



The rijht of tramlation it reserved



TEANSLATOE'S PEEFACE.



WHEN about to visit Switzerland the summer before last, I
was naturally desirous of obtaining information as to the
antiquities discovered of late years in what have been
rightly designated, by a well-known antiquarian friend, as
the ' wonderful Pfahlbauten ' (Habitations lacustres), or lake
dwellings. Some very excellent notices of them had ap-
peared in English by Mr. Wylie, Sir John Lubbock, Bart,
(since then printed with additional information in his late
work), and Sir Charles Lyell, Bart. ; but still there seemed
a want of precise and definite information respecting them.

On arriving in Switzerland, I found that the inhabitants
were fully aware of the rich archaeological mine, which had
been first brought into notice by Dr. Ferdinand Keller, the
excellent president of the Antiquarian Association of
Zurich. The investigation of the various lake dwellings is
now carried on with a zeal and energy, which might b.e
emulated with advantage by our own richer and more
numerous societies. Almost all the museums of Switzerland
now contain valuable collections of these antiquities : there
is hardly a native who is not fully alive to the value of these
discoveries.

Under these circumstances, it seemed to me a most
extraordinary thing that, notwithstanding the excellent
general notices before referred to, so little, comparatively,
should be known in England respecting them ; and I there-

20GG181



T i PREFACE.

fore, in the autumn of that year, ventured to propose to
Dr. Keller, the original discoverer, to make a translation of
his reports on this subject to the Antiquarian Association of
Zurich, five of which were then published, and the sixth
was in progress. To this he most readily and kindly
assented ; but he advised that, as the reports had been pub-
lished at various times, when fresh discoveries were made,
the whole should be rearranged and thrown into a more
regular form. He also very liberally proposed to send
lithographic ' transfers ' of the plates for his sixth report
(which has been published within the last few weeks); and
he has also kindly communicated the proof-sheets of it,
while in the press ; so that the present work will contain
the very latest information which has been obtained on the
subject.

Such, then, is the nature of this volume. I will merely
add, that it is a simple translation and rearrangement of
Dr. Keller's six reports : the order is entirely different ; the
language, as far as possible, is his own. Some few things
have, under his direction, been omitted, and several additions
have been made by him. In a few instances I have added
notes of my own : my province, however, was not to illus-
trate but to translate ; and, as these few notes rest on my own
authority alone, they are marked at foot with the letters Tr.

With respect to the plates, it may be well to mention
that about one-half are actual 'transfers ' (rearranged in the
octavo form) from plates drawn at Zurich, either for the last
report or for the previous ones. Another considerable por-
tion consists of copies, either by myself or my friends, from
the other plates of the Zurich reports ; while a smaller portion,
including the sketches of localities, were drawn by myself
from nature, or from the objects themselves, during a visit to
Switzerland last summer. It was at first intended that each
settlement should have one or more plates to itself; and



PREFACE. vii

this has been carried out as far as possible : but the number
of settlements, and the multitude of specimens (upwards of
fifteen hundred in all),, and more especially the constant
discovery of new objects while the translation was going on,
rendered it absolutely impossible to carry out this plan
entirely. A full index and a careful description of the
plates will, it is hoped, obviate any difficulty arising from
this circumstance.

I must be allowed a few words respecting the 'Ideal
Restoration of a Lake Dwelling,' which is placed as a frontis-
piece, as it is not the ' restoration ' given in the first Zurich
report, which has been so frequently copied ; and it might
be thought presumption in a translator not to have re-
produced the original sketch. But the fact is, since that
report was published, a great mass of information has accu-
mulated, which required some change to be made in the
restored sketch ; and Dr. Keller requested me to design a
view in accordance with the latest discoveries. This sketch,
therefore, before it was drawn on the stone, was submitted
to the author of this volume, and corrected by him in some
minor particulars ; and after having been transmitted once
or twice between Zurich and England, I am happy to say it
has now his complete approval.

The foreign weights and measures have all been reduced
into those of England, except where they were evidently
given merely as approximations, in which cases the original
numbers have not been altered.

Amongst the multitude of facts which had to be collected
from six reports, and placed under their proper heads,
some minor mistakes are very probable ; but I trust that
no great errors will be found. It is not with a view of
evading responsibility, but in order to give some authority
to the work, that I mention the fact of the proof-sheets
having passed rapidly under the eye of the author. I do



viii PREFACE. ,

not mean to say that he has, what is called, ' corrected the
press : ' this was more than could possibly have been expected
from him ; but even a hasty glance from the author and
original discoverer will probably ensure its freedom from
great errors.

I have further to add, by Dr. Keller's especial request
(and I cannot do this better than in the Preface), that in
the following volume it has been his object simply to state
facts : he leaves almost entirely to others the wide field of
speculation. The mass of facts already accumulated is
large ; it is daily increasing ; and it would be premature
to speculate where the discoveries of any hour may over-
turn the theories of the previous one.

Lastly, I do not think it out of place to mention how
much I am indebted to my lithographer, Mr. Palmer, of
Newport, for the care he has taken as to the plates, especially
in the troublesome rearrangement of the ' transfers ' from
Zurich : some of the copies from the Swiss plates were
drawn on stone by Mr. Palmer, junior.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that the reader may enjoy
even a small portion of the pleasure which has fallen to
my lot while investigating the subject, and translating this
valuable work.

THE TRANSLATOR.

THE PRIORY, CAERLEON :
April llth, 1866.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



PAGE

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE . . . , . 4> . v

TABLE OF CONTENTS . . . . . . . ix

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . 1

GENERAL FORM . . . . . . . . 3

METHODS EMPLOYED LN COLLECTING THE LAKE-DWELLING ANTIQUITIES 9

ORIGINAL DISCOVERT . , . ' . . . 10

REMARKS ON THE AGES OF STONE, BRONZE, AND IRON . . . 12

MEILEN ......... 14

MOOSSEEDORF . . . . . . . .31

LAKE OF PFAFFIKON (ROBENHAUSEN, IRGENHAUSEN) ... 37

WANGEN . . . . . . . . . 60

NIEDERWYL . . . . . . . .69

WAUWYL ... . . . . . 77

ALLENSBACH AND MARKELFINGEN . . . . .87

UEBERLINGER SEE (WESTERN SHORE) . . . -,. . . 96

(EASTERN SHORE) . . . .- . . 102

XAKE OF ZU6 -. . . . . . . . 123

NIDAU . . . .'. . . . , . 132

CORTAILLOD . . . . . . . . 148

AUVERNIER . . . . . . , . 153

ESTAVAYER . . . . . . . 156

NEIGHBOURHOOD OF YVERDON (CONCISE, CORCELLETTES, ETC.) . 168

GRENG . . . . . . . . 184

MONTELLIER . . . . . . . 190

MORGES . . . . . ' . . ... . 194

LAKE OF BOURGET . * . . ?1 . . . 202

LAKE DWELLINGS SOUTH OF THE ALPS . . 205



x CONTENTS.

PAGE
MERCURAGO AND BORGO TICINO . . . . .210

PEAT MOOR OF SAN MARTINO AND TORRE BAIRO \ '. . 215

LAKE OF VARESE ....... 217

PESCHIERA . . . . . . . 218

LAGO DI FIMON ........ 222

CASTIONE AND THE TERRAMARA BEDS ..... 222

EARLY ANTIQUITIES FOUND IN ITALY (for comparison) . . 236

MARIN ......... 239

GEOGRAPHICAL LIST OF LAKE DWELLINGS IN THE SWISS DISTRICT . 264

GENERAL REMARKS ON THE LAKE DWELLINGS .... 289

FIGURES OF THE CRESCENT MOON ..... 319

MANUFACTURES OF VEGETABLE FIBRE, FLAX, &C. . . . 323

PLANTS OF THE LAKE DAVELLINGS, BY DR. OSWALD HEER . . 336

ANIMAL REMAINS OF THE LAKE DWELLINGS, BY PROFESSOR RUTIMEYER 355

ANALYSIS OF BRONZE IMPLEMENTS, BY PROFESSOR VON FELLENBERG . 363

SETTLEMENTS ON THE MAIN LAND (for comparison) . . . 364

. Ebersberg ....... 364

Vilters ........ 375

Uetliberg ....... 376

Windisch ....... 376

BAVARIA ......... 378

MECKLENBURG ........ 378

IRISH CRANNOGES ....... 380

SCOTCH. CRANNOGS, BY JOHN STUART, ESft .... 389

APPENDIX ........ 393

Remarks on the ' Habitations lacustres ' of M. Troyon . . 394

Latest Discoveries in the Swiss Lake Dwellings . . 401

EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES ...... 405

INDEX . 419



DIRECTIONS TO BINDER.

Place IDEAL RESTORATION OF A Swiss LAKE DWELLJKG as frontispiece, and the remaining Plates
Uigethcr at the end.



LAKE DWELLINGS.



INTEODUCTION.

THE OBJECT of the following pages is to lay before English
antiquaries a summary of what has hitherto been discovered
respecting the lake dwellings of Switzerland, and the neighbour-
ing countries, together with a glance at the corresponding
settlements in other parts of Europe.

These facts were originally published in the reports on the
subject laid before the Antiquarian Association of Zurich ; but
as these communications were made at various times just as
the discoveries were unfolded in this new field of enquiry, it
necessarily follows that the original reports contain a certain
amount of repetition ; and also that conjectures made at an
early period of the investigation were either confirmed or dis-
proved by subsequent discoveries. The present volume, there-
fore, is not a simple translation of the reports on the lake
dwellings printed by the Antiquarian Association, but a
condensed account taken from the whole of them : the substance
remains, though the mode of stating it is altered. It may
however, be well to mention, that in every case when it was
possible the original has been very closely adhered to, though
not the order in which it is given ; and in most cases the
language and expressions are the same, translated into English.
To the substance of these reports a few facts have been added,
lately discovered, so as to bring the information as far as
possible down to the present day.

It is hardly necessary here to state, what in the year 1855
was new to antiquaries, that from a series of discoveries the
fact is made manifest, that in the very earliest times groups
of families, or probably whole tribes, subsisting by hunting



\

2 INTRODUCTION.

and fishing, with some knowledge of agriculture, lived on the
borders of the Swiss lakes, in huts built not on dry ground,
but on a series of piles in the shallows near the shores. Since
that time it has been ascertained that this peculiar mode of
living was not confined to the inhabitants of Switzerland alone,
but extended to several of the neighbouring countries, nay
more than this, the information which is rapidly accumulating
on all sides will probably bear out the supposition made in the
year 1855, that this mode of settlement is to be found in the
whole circle of the countries formerly Celtic.* At all events,
lake dwellings, if not pile dwellings, existed in Ireland and
Scotland, which in many respects may be considered analogous
to a few of peculiar construction found in Switzerland. These
peculiar lake dwellings, as well as the Irish crannoges, will be
described in their place.

* The author, in his later reports, has evidently avoided using any names which
might positively indicate the nationality of the lake dwellers. [Tn.]



GENEEAL FOEM.



Before proceeding to a description of the different lake dwell-
ings, and of the objects found in them, it may be well in the
first place to give an idea of the general form of these singular
settlements, and of the different varieties under which they
may be classed. The substructure will naturally claim our first
attention.

I. SUBSTRUCTURE.

I. PILE DWELLINGS. What may especially be called the
pile dwellings are by far the most numerous in the lakes of
Switzerland and upper Italy. The annexed woodcut will give

FIG. 1.



a general notion of the arrangement : piles of various kinds of
wood, sometimes split, but in general mere stems with the bark
on, sharpened sometimes by fire, sometimes by stone hatchets
or celts, and in later times by tools of bronze and probably of
iron, were driven into the shallows of the lakes provided they
were not rocky, at various distances from the shore. These
piles were placed sometimes close together, sometimes in pairs,
sometimes tolerably wide apart generally in regular order, but
occasionally in apparent confusion. In all cases the heads
of the piles were brought to a level, and then the platform
beams were laid upon them, which in some cases were fastened
by wooden pins, in others mortises or central hollows were cut
in the heads of the vertical piles to receive the cross beams.
Occasionally cross timbers were joined to the upright piles
below the platform to support and steady the structure, either
forced in as it were between them or fastened to them by what

B 2



4 GENERAL FORM.

workmen call c notching,' that is, portions were cut out of the
vertical piles to receive the cross timbers. The platform lying
on the top of this series of piles appears in many cases to have
been of the rudest construction, and to have consisted merely of
one or two layers of unbarked stems lying parallel one to another ;
in a few cases, as in one of the Italian lake dwellings, they
were more artificial, and were composed of boards, split out of
the trunks of trees, and joined with some approach to accuracy.

In many cases the outer row of piles appears to have been
covered or closed in by a kind of wattle or hurdle work, made
of small twigs or branches, probably to lessen the splash of the
water, or to prevent the piles from being injured by floating
wood.

The distance from the shore as before mentioned varied
considerably : there appears to have been no regular rule in
this respect ; it may, however, be well to mention that when a
lake dwelling has been inhabited both in the stone and the
bronze age, that part evidently used in the bronze age is fre-
quently further from shore and deeper in the lake than that
which belongs to the age of stone. With this exception, as far
as can be ascertained, nearly the same mode of construction
prevailed in the pile dwellings during the ages of stone, bronze,
and iron.

Some few of these dwellings appear to have almost touched
the shore, but this is not a common case : most of them, as
before mentioned, are at some little distance from it, and in all
probability they were connected with it by a narrow platform
or bridge formed also on piles; in some lake dwellings the
remains of these bridge-like entrances have actually been
discovered.

In certain cases, as near Nidau &c., these pile dwellings have
another peculiarity : they are formed on artificial rises in the
bottom of the lake, made by a large number of stones, which
have evidently been brought in boats, and sunk on the spot for
some especial purpose ; in fact, one boat or canoe, still loaded
with the stones which proved too great a cargo for it, and which
consequently sunk it to the bottom, is still to be seen at Peters
Island in the lake of Bienne ; the particulars will be given
when this locality is described. These artificial rises, or hillocks,
under the surface of the water are not uncommon, especially in
the western lakes, and all go by the name of Stein-berg. The
annexed woodcut gives some idea of this variety of pile
dwelling.



GENERAL FORM. 5

As it seems impossible, according to the opinions of the best
engineers to drive piles into a regular heap of stones, we are
obliged to come to the conclusion that the piles must first have
been driven more or less deeply into the mud, and that the
stones were afterwards thrown down between and around the
piles, in order to consolidate the erection.*

FIG. 2.




II. FASCINE DWELLINGS. Some lake dwellings were of very
peculiar structure, and may be designated fascine dwellings.
Instead of a platform, supported on a series of piles, these
erections consisted of layers of sticks, or small stems of trees
built up from the bottom of the lake, till the structure reached
above the water mark ; and on this series of layers the main
platform for the huts was placed. Numerous upright piles are
indeed found in dwellings of this description, but they were not
used to support the platform as in the pile dwellings just

FIG. 3.




mentioned, but chiefly as stays or guides for the great mass of
sticks, in successive layers, which reached down to the bottom
of the lake. The woodcut annexed shows a section of a lake
dwelling built on this peculiar plan. As several settlements of



* An engineering friend informs me that an arrangement of a similar kind has been
used on a much larger scale in the new pier at Portland. Here long piles are driven
and screwed down into the tenacious clay, orming the bottom, till they are sufficiently
strong to bear a kind of railroad. Huge masses of rock are then brought upon it in
trams from Portland Isle, and thrown down between and around the piles, so as to
form a regular breakwater against the heavy seas which beat on that coast. I am
also informed by the engineer of the harbour of refuge at Holyhead, that precisely
the same plan is adopted there with their long piles, except that they are not screwed
but driven in to support the stage from which the stone is thrown. [.Tn.]



6 GENERAL FORM.

this kind will be carefully described in the course of the following
pages, it will be unnecessary at present to enter into further
detail. It may however be well to mention that fascine dwellings
occur chiefly in the smaller lakes, and apparently belong to the
stone age.

III. CRANNOGES, or 'WOODEN ISLANDS.' These singular
structures bear a great resemblance to the class last described.
They have hitherto been found chiefly if not entirely in Ireland
and Scotland. They were first brought into notice by Sir W.
R. Wilde in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy for
1840, and several were subsequently described by Mr. Shirley
and other individuals. Sir W. R. Wilde's ' Catalogue ' contains
notices of several crannoges. They have also been found in
some of the Scotch lakes, especially in Dowalton Loch, which
was drained by Sir Wm. Maxwell of Monreith. Several cran-
noges then discovered have been described by Lord Lovaine
and Mr. John Stuart. As it is intended in the course of the
following pages to give a notice of the structures of this kind
found in Ireland and Scotland, it will be sufficient at present
merely to state that the crannoges at least in Ireland were
frequently but not exclusively placed on natural islands, or on
shallows which approached to this character ; sometimes they
were built up from the bottom of the lake on the soft mud,
exactly in the manner of the fascine dwellings of Switzerland.
They are surrounded by a stockade of piles, driven into the bed
of the lake, so as to enclose either a circle or an oval ; the
diameter varies from 60 to 130 feet. These piles are usually
in a single row, but sometimes the rows are double and even
treble. Occasionally the piles are boards, not round stems.
The lowest bed within this enclosure is commonly a mass of
ferns, branches, and other vegetable matter, generally covered
over with a layer of round logs, cut into lengths of from four
to six feet, over which is usually found a quantity of clay,
gravel, and stones. It will be seen from this short statement
that the crannoges have a great analogy with the fascine
dwellings of Switzerland, and this will probably appear still more
clearly when the details are given hereafter. This similarity
is very striking, when we consider that the Swiss dwellings
were evidently places of permanent habitation that families
and perhaps tribes lived on them; while the crannoges as
mentioned by Mr. Stuart are chiefly to be regarded as chieftains'
forts, and fastnesses for occasional retreat. Unlike the fascine
dwellings of Switzerland, which belong chiefly if not exclusively



GENERAL FORM.



to the age of stone, the crannoges, whatever may be the age
of their foundation, continued down to the age of iron nay,
they were actually used at a very late period ; whereas the
lake dwellings of Switzerland, as far as we at present know,
disappeared about the first century. The annexed woodcut will



FIG. 4.




probably give some idea of the appearance of these crannoges ;
but it is difficult to represent a structure of this kind merely in
section, which necessarily is the case with the vignette, and the
reader therefore is referred for more particulars to the detailed
description.

II. SUPERSTRUCTURE.

Under this head there is naturally very little to say : in fact,
a few words will suffice for all that we have to communicate.
Except under very peculiar circumstances, timber and vegetable
material cannot possibly exist long when exposed to the
summer sun and the winter's storms. Still there are indications,
though slight ones, as to the construction of the huts, and these
will now be stated as briefly as possible.

It has been already mentioned that the main platform .con-
sisted either of round timber, or (in some few cases) of split
boards. Upon this it appears that a bed of mud loam and
gravel was laid, and beaten down firmly, either by the feet, or
by the wooden mallets, of which several have been found in
these localities. Occasionally a layer of larger pebbles is found,
as in some of the Italian dwellings, near the top, probably to
strengthen this kind of plaster floor.

There can be no doubt that small piles or stakes formed the
framework of the huts. Some of these have been actually
found projecting considerably above the platform. Probably
in some cases, especially in the fascine erections, fresh piles
were driven in for this purpose, which did not go quite down to
the bottom of the lake ; but in the regular pile buildings, they
would only be piles of an extra length.

Of course these piles would mark out the extent of the



8 GENERAL FORM.

dwellings themselves, and in one or two favourable instances
we have thus the ground plan of a settlement ; but we have
more than this : the size of the house is further marked out by
boards, forced in firmly between the piles, and resting edgeways
on the platform, thus forming whai at the present day we should
call the skirting boards of the huts or rooms. It cannot now
be determined whether this was continued higher than a single
board, as more than this has not as yet been actually discovered ;
but the advantage of even a single plank, set on edge, to keep
out wet, and wind and vermin, must be generally evident. It
is also perfectly certain that the walls or sides were in a great
measure made of a wattle or hurdle-work of small branches,
woven in between the upright piles, and covered with a con-
siderable thickness of loam or clay; this is proved by numbers
of pieces of clay half burnt, or hardened in the fire, with the
impressions of the wattle- work still remaining. These singularly
illustrative specimens are found in nearly every settlement
which has been destroyed by fire.

All the evidence which has yet come before us, proves that
the huts were rectangular ; but some of them may possibly have
been round, as, from ancient authors, it is very evident that
the huts of many nations on terra firma were round in form.

It is not known whether the huts were divided into several
rooms or not; possibly further discoveries may decide this.



Online LibraryFerdinand KellerThe lake dwellings of Switzerland and other parts of Europe → online text (page 1 of 43)