An international team of archaeologists is to determine whether a prehistoric settlement is hidden at the bottom of Lake Lucerne, after traces of a Bronze Age village were found earlier.
The geological investigations will begin on Monday and run until November, Canton Lucerne and Swiss Federal Railways said on Friday. They are part of preparations for a CHF2.4 billion rail transport extension plan including an underground tunnel under the lake.
Traces of a pile dwelling (or stilt house) village earlier came to light while laying a pipeline in the natural harbour area of the lake. The remnants were found by underwater archaeologists around four metres below the water surface. The find shows that the city of Lucerne area was already populated 3,000 years ago – which is 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.
The cantonal archaeology department of Lucerne has to check whether prehistoric finds can also be expected in the area of the planned railway excavation. Experts conducting the probe are not only from Lucerne but also Bern, Zurich and Copenhagen.
The paleoecology department of the University of Bern will drill three to five metres deep, according to Canton Lucerne and Swiss Federal Railways. They will then check whether the soil samples contain remains of cultivated and useful plants that indicate a prehistoric settlement.
Danish experts from the University of Copenhagen will contribute with a sonar scanner that uses sounds to examine the lake bed. Underwater Archaeology Zurich, which discovered the first pile-dwelling settlement in Lake Lucerne, will also be involved and will coordinate the investigations.
Source: Swiss Info