Category Archives: SWITZERLAND

Swiss Metal Detectorist Finds 1,290 4th Century Roman Coins!

Swiss Metal Detectorist Finds 1,290 4th Century Roman Coins!

Nearly 1,300 priceless 4th-century AD Roman coins, all in a pot, were found in September 2021 near Bubendorf, Basel County, Switzerland by amateur archaeologist volunteer, Daniel Ludin. During one of Daniel’s metal detector searches in a forest at Wildenstein Castle, the alert went off.

Digging down he just found a few coins and potsherds, but the detector kept buzzing. Digging further he discovered the Roman coin hoard in what was once a really big pot, according to the report in Archaeology Baselland.

The ceramic pot with the coins during professional excavation by employees of Archaeology Baselland.

Rare Hoard of Roman Coins Dated to the Constantine Era

A big broken pot overflowing with copper coins was the Swiss amateur archaeologist’s eventual jackpot find. The entire hoard of Roman coins dated to Emperor Constantine’s reign (306-337 AD). They were the equivalent of a gold solidus, which is 2 months’ salary for a Roman Legion soldier. The youngest coins in the hoard dated to 332-335 AD.

Coin hoards from a time of economic stability are unusual. And that’s what makes this hoard both rare and unusual. Comparatively, Constantine’s reign was marked by overall peace and tranquility, Therefore, coin hoards from this Roman period are rare.

Conversely, in times of economic instability, people would bury coins and currency in the hope of using them in better times and to protect them. Instability would include civil wars, incursions by neighboring ethnic groups, and economic crises .

All the Roman coins in the recent Swiss Roman coin hoard, made during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337 AD), show portraits of the emperor and his relatives in the front.

The September 2021 Swiss Roman coin hoard burial find indicates either a religious offering to the gods, or a peace offering (the site was on a border shared by three Roman estates ), or perhaps a boundary line sacrifice.

The reasons for this are still not entirely clear, particularly because the exact years matching this coin hoard were characterized by their political stability and minor economic recovery, and there are hardly any contemporaneous hoards from this era in the Roman Empire’s history .

Part of the many reforms enacted by Constantine include the separation of civil and military authorities, and the introduction of the gold solidus coins .

The gold coins, meant to combat the crippling inflation of the 3rd century AD, replaced the pure silver argentus coins in 305. The gold solidus would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than 1,000 years.

Constantine also shifted the capital of the Roman empire to Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).

A 3D model of the jar of ancient Roman coins which was found by an amateur archaeologist in Switzerland in September 2021.

An Amateur Archaeologist with A Deep Sense of Professionalism

Daniel Ludin was extremely cautious about his find. He left the loot, filled in the hole, and immediately informed Archeologie Basselland, which allowed them to preserve the pot in a soil block with coins, pot fragments, and invisible archaeo-organic remains excavated under laboratory conditions.

This allowed for a CT scan of the soil block, indicating a separation of the coins in the pot into two parts by a piece of cowhide, the reason and purpose of this remains unclear.

Says Andreas Fischer of Archaeologie Baselland, “One can only speculate about the meaning and purpose of this separation.” Since September 2021, when the discovery was originally made, the finds were carefully transferred to the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) in Duebendorf. Here computer tomography (CT) scanning, and a powerful X-ray have been employed to figure out what’s what.

In a statement obtained by Zenger News , Fischer added that, “After recovering several Roman coins and fragments of pottery, the full extent of his discovery became apparent: a hoard of coins that had been buried in a pot came to light.

Daniel Ludin acted very carefully. He covered the find again and informed Archeologie Baselland. Thanks to this professional approach, an excavation team from Archäologie Baselland was able to salvage the pot in one piece.”

Despite the observations regarding the relative peace and stability of the Constantine era made by the current archaeology team, there was an important point of observation that one must note.

Bronze coins, over time, continued to be devalued in favor of the silver and gold currency, creating gold as the fiduciary standard. This, in time, created a class divide between the wealthy and the poor, with the latter holding on to the bronze currency, while the rich benefited from the stability of the gold coinage.

3,000-Year-Old Submerged Settlement Discovered in Switzerland

3,000-Year-Old Submerged Settlement Discovered in Switzerland

Traces of a prehistoric pile dwelling suggest humans inhabited the Lake Lucerne area 2,000 years earlier than previously thought

Underwater archaeologists recovered 30 wooden poles used as supports for prehistoric pile dwellings.

Archaeologists surveying Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne have discovered the remains of a submerged Bronze Age village.

As reports, the new finds suggest that the area around the lake was settled 2,000 years earlier than previously thought. Though researchers have long searched for proof of early habitation in the Lucerne region, a thick layer of mud had obscured traces of the village until recently.

Per a statement from the local government, construction of a pipeline at Lake Lucerne offered underwater archaeologists the chance to examine the lakebed up close. The first dive took place in December ; between March 2022 and February 2022, reports, the team recovered about 30 wooden poles and 5 ceramic fragments at depths of roughly 10 to 13 feet.

“These new finds from the Lucerne lake basin confirm that people settled here as early as 3,000 years ago,” says the statement, per Google Translate. “[W]ith this evidence, the city of Lucerne suddenly becomes around 2,000 years older than has been previously proven.”

Experts used radiocarbon analysis to date the artifacts to about 1000 B.C., when the lake level was more than 16 feet lower than it is today, writes Garry Shaw for the Art Newspaper. According to the statement, these conditions “formed an ideal, easily accessible settlement area” around the lake basin.

The team identified the wooden sticks found at the site as supports used in pile dwellings, or prehistoric coastal houses that stood on stilts. Dwellings of this kind were common in and around the Alps between 5000 and 500 B.C., notes Unesco, and can provide researchers with useful insights into Europe’s Neolithic period and Bronze Age.

Researchers surveyed the lakebed between December 2022 and February 2022.

“The wood is very soft on the outside and hard on the inside,” archaeologist Andreas Mäder tells Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), per Google Translate. “Something like that is typical of prehistoric piles.”

For now, the scholars’ research is limited to the trench surrounding the underwater pipeline. Traces of other submerged settlements are likely hidden nearby, but the team will need additional funding to investigate the area further.

As Heritage Daily reports, Lake Lucerne is a 44-square-mile body of water that reaches depths of up to 1,424 feet. Per a second government statement, the city of Lucerne itself was established 800 years ago.

Written records indicate that humans had settled in the area by the eighth century A.D., but until now, archaeological evidence of earlier habitation was scant.

Lake Lucerne’s water level rose significantly in the millennia following the submerged village’s peak, with a weather-driven increase in rubble and debris buildup exacerbated by medieval residents’ construction of water mills and other buildings. The lake likely reached its current level during the 15th century, according to the statement.

The archaeologists’ announcement coincides with the tenth anniversary of Unesco adding “Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps” to its World Heritage List. In total, wrote Caroline Bishop for the Local Switzerland in 2017, the listing includes 111 sites across Europe, including 56 in Switzerland.

As Unesco noted in a 2011 statement, “The settlements are a unique group of exceptionally well-preserved and culturally rich archaeological sites, which constitute one of the most important sources for the study of early agrarian societies in the region.”


Celtic woman found buried inside a TREE ‘wearing fancy clothes and jewellery’ after 2,200 years

Around 2,200 years ago, in what is now Zürich, Switzerland, a group of Iron Age Celts laid a woman to rest.

The ancient corpse of a woman buried in a hollowed-out tree in Zurich, Switzerland. Pictured are parts of her remains including her skull (top), as well as her jewellery (a blue, bottom)

The deceased, wearing a dress of fine sheep’s wool, a shawl and a sheepskin coat, was probably a individual of a high stature:

As the City Office for Urban Development recently reported, the woman, approximately 40 years old when she died, boasted accessories including a necklace made of blue and yellow glass and amber, bronze bracelets and a bronze chain adorned with pendants.

Based on analysis of her remains, archaeologists theorize she performed little physical labor during her lifetime and enjoyed a rich diet of starchy and sweetened foods.

Curiously, Laura Geggel writes for Live Science, the woman was also buried in a hollowed-out tree trunk that still had bark on its exterior upon the makeshift coffin’s rediscovery in March 2022.

The amber beads and brooches belonging to the woman’s decorative necklace being carefully recovered from the soil.

Per a statement published in the immediate aftermath of the find, workers happened upon the gravesite while undertaking a construction project at the Kern school complex in Zürich’s Aussersihl district.

Although the site is considered of archaeological importance, most previous discoveries dated to the 6th century A.D.

The Office of Urban Development said the woman’s necklace was “unique in its form: it is fastened between two brooches (garment clips) and decorated with precious glass and amber beads.”

The only exception, according to Geggel, was the grave of a Celtic male found on the campus in 1903. Like the woman, who was buried about 260 feet away, the man showed signs of high social standing, wielding a sword, shield and lance and wearing a complete warrior outfit.

Given the fact that the pair were both buried around 200 B.C., the Office for Urban Development suggests it is “quite possible” they knew each other.

According to the 2022 statement, researchers launched a comprehensive assessment of the grave and its occupant soon after the discovery.

For the past two years, archaeologists have documented, salvaged, conserved and evaluated the various goods found in the tomb, as well as conducting a physical examination of the woman’s remains and performing isotope analysis of her bones.

The now-completed assessment “draws a fairly accurate picture of the deceased” and her community, per the statement.

Isotope analysis reveals that the woman grew up in what is now Zürich’s Limmat Valley, meaning she was buried in the same region she likely spent most of her life.

While archaeologists have previously unearthed evidence of a nearby Celtic settlement dating to the 1st century B.C., the researchers believe that the man and woman actually belonged to a separate smaller settlement yet to be discovered.

The excavation site at the Kernschulhaus (Kern school) in Aussersihl, Zurich. The remains were found on March 2022, with results of all testing now shedding light on the woman’s life.

In, the Celts are often associated with the British Isles. In actuality, as Adam H. Graham reports for Afar magazine, Celtic clans spanned much of Europe, settling down in Austria, Switzerland and other areas north of the Roman Empire’s borders.

From 450 B.C. to 58 B.C.—exactly the time period in which the tree coffin woman and her potential male companion lived—a “wine-guzzling, gold-designing, poly/bisexual, naked-warrior-battling culture” dubbed La Tène actually served as the nexus of the Celtic world, thriving in Switzerland’s Lac de Neuchâtel region.

Unfortunately for these hedonistic Celts, an invasion by Julius Caesar abrubtly ended the festivities, paving the way for Rome’s eventual subjugation of much of the European continent.