February 13, 2013

Large dolmen with 30 buried people discovered in Switzerland

Swiss archaeologists have unearthed in the Canton of Bern a large dolmen that must have been above the ground until the Late Middle Ages. The burial contains the remains of some 30 people, which will be studied also for DNA. 

The roof of the Megalithic monument was made from a large glacial boulder measuring 3x2x1 meters, which was the only part remaining visible and was not initially identified as such megalith. 

The dolmen upon excavation

Reconstruction of how it must have looked in the past

The cultural context of Megalithism in this part of Europe corresponds to the southwestern variant of late Danubian Neolithic, known as Horgen culture (c. 3400-2850 BCE, found in all Swabia). In this late period many Western Danubian peoples, as well as other cultures, adopted the Megalithic "collective" (clannic?) burial style, original from SW Europe, breaking away with the original Danubian traditions of simple individual burial in flexed position. However their settlements show continuity with the preceding Pfyn culture, which is widely considered Danubian. Their pottery was rough and influenced the post-Cardial culture of Cortaillod, later Saône-Rhône (French Switzerland and nearby parts of France), but their stone tools were well finished and often polished. Horgen culture collapsed with the arrival of the Kurgan (Indoeuropean) Corded Ware culture.

Sources: Swiss Info (video), Past Horizons, Asociación Los Dólmenes[es].


  1. for more on possible Neanderthal - modern human connections, see The Silk Code

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