Neolithic Architecture Daub: Obermeilen, and Robenhausen sites; Zurichsee, Bodensee, Wauwilwemoos lakes, Switzerland

During 1853-54, prolonged drought cause water in alpine lakes to drop 1 foot below lowest recorded levels.
In winter 54’, men began to begin a “land reclamation project.”

They uncovered a lake village.
First of hundreds in alpine Europe.

An enormous amount of building material preserved: remnants of wooden frames, plank floors, wattle and white walls, with thatched roofs.

So much, that dendrochronology, (tree ring dating), provided year by year site histories, firmly identifying the earliest villages on Zurichsee , Bodensee, Wauwilwemoos lakes (more than 5000 years old).

Neolithic villagers, continued to live by the lakes for the next 3 millennia. In fact, the preserved material remains two cultural transitions: from seasonal foraging, to sedentary agriculture, and from stone tools to the use of bronze.

Preservation of organic material from these settlements was extraordinary. Artifacts from almost every aspect of everyday life in Neolithic Europe survived. The lake dwellers relied heavily on wood. Besides using it for there houses, and dugout canoes, they made wooden bowls, spoons, and ladels, chisels, hooks, and knife handles; bows and clubs; and, loom parts. They also used animal bones, teeth, tusks and antlers, to make beds needles, pins, awls, chisels, saws, arrowheads, handles for stone axes, and at least one fish hook. They made chipped and ground stone tools, and at some sites, they made pottery.

The list of plant remains gives some idea of the wealth of remains from these sites. List of plants include: wheat, barley, millet; peas, apples, pears, plums, sloes, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries; dog rose, elder and bilberry; and, caraway seeds, beech nuts, hickory nuts and water chestnuts; Even fava beans, which the villagers may have grown. Rarely preserved on European sites, providing particularly interesting cultural information. Flax and opium poppies were also found at the sites.

Did you know 3/4 of weight of poppy seed is its oil, and that besides its use in bread, and pain relief, raw oil can be used to burn in lamps.

Original Affluent Society

The “original affluent society” is principal that the lives of hunter-gatherers are seen as embedding a sufficient degree of material comfort and security that is more affluent than current times. The theory was first put forward in a paper presented by Marshall Sahlins, at the University of Michigan, in 1966 entitled ‘Man the Hunter’. During neolithic times, it was observed that affluence is the satisfaction of wants, “which may be ‘easily satisfied’ either by producing more or desiring less.”

As we begin another 300 year cycle, amongst unprecedented weather changes and disease, kinda makes you wonder, how much is too much?

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