• Site of the month – Discover Switzerland’s unknown past throughout the year
• Development and redaction of the UNESCO World Heritage Nomination of the “Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah”(UAE)
• “Salons archéologiques”
• Preparation of the report on the enhancement of the archaeological sites of Hasenburg and Early Iron Age grave mounds of Grossholz (canton of Bern)
• La Pampa grande de Loma l’Ántigo. Project for the study and conservation of a archaeological landscape site in the province of Catamarca (Argentina)
• Circum Petinesca:archaeological orienteering route
• In search of prehistoric villages… with their feet in the water
• A journey into prehistoric pile-dwelling history: A scientific and media journey between the Seeland and Alpine Italy
• Linking sites – linking associations
• Organisation of the excursions and archaeological fair for the annual meeting of the EAA in Bern in 2019
The Roman villa at Pully and the Lavaux – Switzerland’s First World War defences on the Umbrail Pass – Val Müstair – the early modern spa at Weissenburgbad in the Simmental – a cave on the Rigi once inhabited by cave bears: Switzerland’s archaeological sites may not seem quite as spectacular as those of Egypt or Greece, but they are no less interesting – on the contrary! We invite you to discover the archaeology and palaeontology, landscapes and treasures of Switzerland throughout the year.
Therefore ArchaeoConcept and the association ArchaeoToursim2012 decided to promote Swiss archaeology, landscapes and treasures through a unique and original sustainable tourism project. The particularity of this project is the strong collaboration between archaeologists, palaeontologists and tourism professionals, as well as local historical associations. From June 2015 each month one site in one canton of Switzerland is put in the spotlight.
Development and drafting of the UNESCO World Heritage Nomination of the Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah
ArchaeoConcept was appointed by the Emirate of Sharjah ( E.A.U) to develop and draft the management plan and the file for the UNESCO World Heritage nomination ” Cultural Landscape of the Central Region in the Emirate of Sharjah”.
The central region of Sharjah is characterised by a chain of high outcrops located to the West of the Hajar Mountain range, at an approximate distance of 55 kilometres from both the Arabian Gulf to the West and the Gulf of Oman to the East. The chain is composed of small mountains extending in a north-south orientation for about 20 kilometres. Coming from the north through the al-Dhaid plain one encounters Mleiha, Jebel Faya, Jebel Emeilah, Jebel Aqaba and Jebel al Buhais, the latter being surrounded by the al-Madam plain and oasis at the southern end. The serial property is a cultural landscape characterised by its unique environment as a limestone range (jebels) rich in raw materials (flint inclusions) rising between the desert red dunes and the gravel plain leading to the high Hajar Mountains. The eastern slopes benefited from water catchment coming from the Hajar Mountains, thus enabling a repeated human occupation over more than 250 000 years in this area. Incessant research has allowed understanding the climatic evolution and its impact on human occupations during this same period. Five major archaeological sites, Jebel Faya (Palaeolithic), Al Buhais (Neolithic and Late Bronze Age), Jebel Emailah (Early Bronze Age), Al Tuqaibah (Iron Age) and Mleiha (Pre-Islamic), are included in this cultural landscape. Each of with has delivered exceptional discoveries that have changed the historical understanding of this region of the world. The scientific analysis of the archaeological remains acknowledges phenomena of universal importance such as the understanding of how anatomically modern humans spread out of Africa, the understanding of the particular nomadic way of life during the Neolithic and Bronze Age or the domestication of dromedary which is central in the lifestyle of desert populations still today. The features such as the raw materials in the limestone of the Jebels or the paleolakes at their foot rendered this landscape substantial for the populations during the optimum climatic periods since the Palaeolithic. This location offered first of all shelter, tools and nutrition on the long walk of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and leading to Asia. During the Neolithic and Bronze Age, semi-nomadic populations sustained a very particular link with the Jebels since they repeatedly came to Jebel Emailah and Al Buhais to bury their dead. During the dry period of the Iron Age, the occupation in Al Tuqaibah led to the development of new technologies concerning mud-brick building, water management and the domestication of the dromedary. Last of all, with the intensification of the use of the land and of trade routes linking east to west and south to north bringing with them long distance contacts, Mleiha became the capital of the kingdom of Uman, a centre of trade and power for the entire Arabian Peninsula during the Pre-Islamic times.
While archaeology is generally a source of popular enthusiasm, its aims and practices remain largely unknown to the general public. It is to understand this ambiguity that we decided to organize “Salons archéologiques”. It is a first step towards a potential audience and restoring contact between the public and scientists through participation. A “Salon archéologique” brings together 15 people who meet for a few hours to discuss the theme of heritage and archaeology. These discussions, which we will conduct in about ten cities and under the same conditions, will form the basis for a qualitative analysis of the opinions expressed by the inhabitants. Their interactions and questions are recorded and these data will be processed scientifically to produce the analysis. The results will be published and presented at conferences. The analysis will provide a solid theoretical basis for researchers who wish to strengthen relationships and interactions with the population through concrete actions. “Salons archéologiques” are designed to raise awareness among a part of the population of the archaeological heritage and discipline and to let multivocality about the past and science be expressed, heard and mobilized. Therefore, they will be presented as part of the events proposed during the European Year of Cultural Heritage EYCH, the theme of which is “Sharing Heritage”. “Salons archéologiques” can be seen as a sketch of a future and creative archaeology, which we see above all as a social archaeology.
Preparation of the report on the enhancement of the archaeological sites of Hasenburg and Early Iron Age grave mounds of Grossholz (canton of Bern)
Switzerland is characterised by its rich archaeological and historical heritage. This wealth is partly explained by the density of the occupation of the territory since prehistoric times. Thus, it is now common to uncover or rediscover habitat sites, graveyards, fortified sites but also Roman furniture testifying to the continuity of the occupation of the region. While some of these buildings are found in the heart of urban spaces, others, which are more numerous and fragmented, blend so well with the landscapes that they have become almost imperceptible. Often located off major roads and centres, they are known only to heritage specialists and a few history enthusiasts.
The medieval castle of the lords of Fenis, the Hasenburg, and the Early Iron Age burial mounds are two exceptional archaeological sites located on the Schaltenrain ( Ins/Anet, canton of Bern). Yet they have not escaped this relative loss of consciousness. At the time of their construction and use, these occupations materialized supra-regional political and economic centres. For this reason, the remains of the medieval village and burial mounds are classified as cultural property of national importance (category A). They can be visited and are indicated by a few hiking signs from the village of Ins/Anet. However, information about them is relatively limited and does not include the results of the most recent research. This is why a project to enhance the value of these two units is currently underway. ArchaeoConcept has been asked to put in place the presentation and financing file for the development of the medieval site of Hasenburg and the Iron Age burial mounds of the Schaltenrain by the association Pro Fenis Hasenburg and as soon as the financing is secured, the project can start.
La Pampa grande de Loma l’Ántigo.Project for the study and conservation of a archaeological landscape site in the province of Catamarca (Argentina)
This educational project, supported by the Pro Petinesca association and the NMB, aims to enable students from two secondary classes to create an innovative and cultural bilingual orienteering course on the Jensberg near Studen, where the Petinesca archaeological site is located. This fun activity will be developed for primary school students (fr/de), but can also be adapted to the general public.
During the school year, interventions will be organized by different professionals and specialists. On the basis of the knowledge acquired, students will be able to set up posts on the themes addressed in class (research history/archaeological excavations; ramparts/houses of Celtic craftsmen; Roman cult/military; medieval fortress; topography/geology; evolution and occupation of the territory; environment; reconstitution). These stations will be physically marked with QR-Codes that will be integrated into the signage already present on the site. They will lead to a page on the website created by them especially for the prposed path.
The association seeland.biel/ bienne has set up a competition for project ideas related to the NPR Incentive Programme for the period 2020-2023. With the Neues Museum Biel, ArchaeoConcept proposed the following idea:
To make the invisible visible, we offer a walking, cycling or boat trip to the 5 pile dwelling sites (Vigneules, Twann, Vinelz, Lüscherz and Sutz) of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fun and interactive itinerary will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the past while forging links with local economic players (fishing, vines, gastronomy and local products). In concrete terms, we propose a treasure hunt (role-playing) set during the period of lake fever (19th century) when fishermen preferred to sell archaeological objects, rather than the products of their fishing. The visitor will use an augmented reality support for this game. In order to progress in the game, he will have to visit the various economic players in the region.
The challenge now is to turn this idea into a project.
A journey into prehistoric pile-dwelling history: A scientific and media journey between the Seeland and Alpine Italy
From Seeland to Alpine Italy, crossing eastern Switzerland and the Alps to northern Italy, the project “A journey into prehistoric pile-dwelling history: A scientific and media journey between the Seeland and Alpine Italy” offers the opportunity to create a media news feed of prehistoric pile-dwelling sites around the Alps, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List (http://whc.unesco.org/fr/list/1363). This trip into prehistoric pile-dwelling history aims to mediate knowledge of lake habitats to the public. The route will be punctuated by filmed encounters on the pile dwellings located between the Seeland and Italy. They will be followed by short episodes during which specialists will talk about the sites for which they are responsible for conservation, protection and mediation. Broadcast on various media and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube), these video capsules of a few minutes, produced on a daily basis, will constitute a real logbook of our team, enhanced with images, written testimonies, sounds and stories (micro video sequences in loop).Indeed, despite the nomination of some of them to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, these prehistoric habitats that are present in six countries of the Alpine arc (Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia and Austria) currently often remain unknown to the public because they are often invisible. Due to the exceptional conservation of their remains in wetlands, these sites have mobilized archaeological research since the 19th century and are at the origin of the lake myth, the founder of a certain Swiss identity. The overall objectives of this project are therefore to raise awareness and transmit knowledge about archaeology and the palafittic heritage to the Swiss and European population. It also aims to raise awareness of the international value of these sites. This project was set up with the Neues Museum Biel as part of the international prehistoric pirogue regattas programme.
In Switzerland, hundreds of cultural heritage sites are managed by associations generally composed of amateurs with good ideas and significant expertise. However, they often face similar challenges, such as lack of funding, low visibility, declining member engagement, low interest from young people, or conservation management difficulties. Why not promote meetings between these associations to stimulate the sharing of experiences? This could result in new collaborations and the creation of innovative solutions for recurring challenges.
Our project is based on the observation of the invisibility and isolation of many small associations active in the management of cultural heritage sites in Switzerland. In the long term, this could have the effect of significantly impoverishing the Swiss associative communities. The project therefore aims to give visibility to these associations while creating a space for meeting, exchange and reflection in order to find solutions to the challenges encountered. To do this, ArchaeoConcept would like to create a two-day fair that is organized around three main themes. First, stands allow associations to present their activities. Secondly, a role-playing game makes the fair attractive to audiences that are usually difficult for associations to reach. And finally, a forum for meeting and reflection is intended for associations and potential public and private partners in order to create opportunities for reflection and collaboration.
Organisation of the excursions and archaeological fair for the annual meeting of the EAA in Bern in 2019
ArchaeoConcept has been mandated by the organisers of the annual meeting of the EAA (European Association of Archaeologists) to put into place the archaeological excursions and fair, which will take place at the same time as the annual meeting.
Thanks to close collaboration with the Archaeological Services of Graubünden, Neuchâtel, Friburg and Bern, as well as the valuable assistance of the archaeological sites of Avenches and Augusta Raurica, we were able to offer a 5-day excursion to Graubünden (31 August to 4 September 2019), four one-day excursions dedicated to the Celts and Hevètes, the Lake Dwellers of the Three Lakes, Augusta Raurica and the medieval towns of the Bernese Oberland (either on 3 or 8 September 2019). Half-day excursions will take place to sites closer to Bern such as the fortifications of Friburg, the old city of Bern, the Iron Age site of Brenodurum and the capital of Roman Helvetia in Avenches (all on 4 September 2018). These excursions are reserved for congress participants only. For more information: Excursion Programme EAA2019
The archaeological fair will take place from 4 to 7 September 2019 in the dome hall of the main building of the University of Bern. Stands will feature publications, archaeological material and services provided by various associations and institutions in Switzerland and abroad. We also wish to propose in this convivial atmosphere, places for discussion and short films. Access to the fair is open to all. So don’t hesitate to come!