EAA 2016, Vilnius, Litauen

Auch in diesem Jahr präsentieren wir auf europäischer Ebene die Ergebnisse unserer Forschungen der letzten Jahre, diesmal zusammen mit Francesco Carrer, Newcastle University, und Kevin Walsh, University of York.

22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists.

31st August – 4th September, Vilnius

Interpreting the Archaeological Record

Session TH1-02


Thursday, 1 September 2016, 14:00-18:30

Faculty of Philosophy, Room 201

Author – Hueglin, Sophie, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom (Presenting author)

Co-author(s) – Gramsch, Alexander, Roemisch-Germanische Kommission, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Keywords: Hierarchisation, Petrification, Standardisation

Prehistoric dry-stone structures at high-altitude in the Alps: social, economic and cultural drivers

Author – Dr. Carrer, Francesco, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom (Presenting author)

Co-author(s) – Walsh, Kevin, University of York, York, United Kingdom

Co-author(s) – Reitmaier, Thomas, Archaeological Service of the Canton of Grisons, Chur, Switzerland

Keywords: Alpine pastoralism, Bronze & Iron Age, Dry-stone structures

Presentation Preference – Oral

Pastoralism is a long-lasting strategy of human-environment interaction at high-altitude. In the alpine arc, in particular, the upland landscapes (>1600 m asl) have been shaped by pastoral activities since the Neolithic. Pastoral groups have contributed to the modification of plant communities of the high-altitude environments, and they also created different types of seasonal structures. The most effective assessment of the alpine landscape integrates the study of these pastoral structures within an environmental framework comprising woodlands, pastures, streams and peaks. Huts are exploited by the herders for different types of activities, corrals and byres are used to stable the animals, and cellars for cheese-maturing. Most of these structures are made of stone or timber posts leaning on a stone basement. Recent archaeological projects shed new light on human colonization or exploitation of high-altitudes, showing that the earliest dry-stone structures (tentatively related to pastoralism) occurred in the alpine pastures since the late third millennium BC, and became common throughout the Alps during the second and first millennium BC. Interestingly enough, the appearance of these structures does not correspond to the first evidence of pastoral activity in the alpine uplands (suggested mainly by palaeoenvironmental proxy data), as if the earliest pastoral groups exploited much more ephemeral shelters. This observation opens a series of interpretative questions: What triggered the construction of these permanent structures during the Bronze and Iron Age? Was it just for functional reasons or was it also a way to facilitate ‘possession’ of this ‘marginal’ environments? In this paper the origin of dry-stone pastoral structures in the Alps will be investigated. The available archaeological data will be revised, to assess the chronology of their diffusion and to find structural similarities that might mirror functional and cultural aspects. Insights from recent ethnoarchaeological investigations will enabled the role of these structures within the upland landscapes to be inferred.




Über silvretta historica

Ein interdisziplinäres und archäologisches Forschungsprojekt des Archäologischen Dienstes Graubünden sowie der Universität Zürich im Silvrettagebirge zur prähistorischen Besiedlungsgeschichte der Alpen, in Zusammenarbeit mit Partnern aus der Schweiz, Österreich und Deutschland.
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