You are here: Home Contents Geology Hiking Trail Pre-historic Settlement on the Bartholomaeberg
Document Actions

Pre-historic Settlement on the Bartholomaeberg

by Theresa König last modified 2008-02-19 14:44

Pre-historic settlement on the Bartholomaeberg

Between the years 2000 and 2003 the remains of a fortified Bronze Age castle complex dated back to between 1600 and 1500 BC was discovered by the Free University of Berlin during archaeological digs on the Bartholomaeberg.  This is the oldest known castle complex from the Bronze Age in the Alps.  A similar complex was discovered in the 1940’s during digs on the Mutta bei Fellers on the Hinterrhein in Grisons, Switzerland.  A castle complex with a 2 meter wide surrounding protective wall was built there, probably around the same time.
The 3,500 year old castle settlement in Bartholomaeberg is located 250 meters above the Schruns basin at 940 meters above sea level in the Friaga Forest and is thought to be connected to the rich copper ore repositories on the Bartholomaeberg and in the Silbertal.  An 80 meter long and almost 3 meter wide wall protected the small castle complex from the cliffs and the Platta meadow.  Inside the fort there was only enough room for six to eight block houses for the occupants, which were found on a man-made, fortified, terrace wall.  Pottery shards, bronze needles, parts of house foundations and fire pits are all proof of the Bronze Age settlers.  We imagine that other unfortified farmsteads and farmstead groups were in the “Hinterland” – probably on the friendly terraces on the Platta meadow.  The strong castle wall which was originally two to three meters high was a monumental construction.  It not only served as a fortification but it also illustrated prestige and power for the occupants.  A fortified place like this built at that time can only be understood when brought into connection with the copper ore repository and exploitation.  The castle complex can be seen as the central location for the settlement area. 
The archaeological digs were temporarily ended at the end of August 2003.  The discoveries gave important clues concerning the history of settlement here:  One of the first settlements where the ground was levelled was built in the early Bronze Age around 2000 BC.  After that, during the middle Bronze Age in 1600 BC the settlement was expanded by the construction of the castle wall and a semi-circular terrace wall.  The middle Bronze Age settlement probably lasted 200 -300 years and correlates very well with the moor profile finds.  It seems that there was a discontinuation of settlement that lasted a few hundred years after the middle Bronze Age and the finds in the layer above it are dated to the late Iron Age.  Pottery from the late Hallstatt Period – around 6 BC – the so-called Taminser ware as well as pottery and metal finds from the early Latène Period around 5 or 4 BC were found.  Important pottery finds are the so-called Schneller ware from the Rhine Valley as well as the so-called Fritzener bowls from the Inn Valley.  They make two important Iron Age inner Alpine cultural areas on the Bartholomaeberg comprehensible 


P01-5 Pre-historic Settlement of the Bartholomaeberg.mp3

Powered by Plone CMS, the Open Source Content Management System

This site conforms to the following standards: