Monday, July 31, 2017

Copper Age Changes - in Switzerland

Landesmuseum Zurich    4,300 to 800 BC  Stone, Copper, Bronze age

"Jewelry, weapons and tools made of copper as well as imported items made from rare materials such as jade, amber or gold were highly sought after and served as status symbols."

Many of the lakeshores were densely settled as early as the Late Stone and Bronze Ages.  At that time, pile-dwelling villages stood on the shores and in the water.  Many everyday items have survived in the waterlogged ground and give us a glimpse of the lives of these early farmers.  Pile dwellings have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

From 2,300 BC, the discovery of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin that was used to manufacture tools, weapons and jewelry, transformed the lives of populations living in the area of present-day Switzerland.  The transportation of copper and tin over land and by water from far-flung regions facilitated the development of long distance trade.  At the same time, religious traditions also spread:  artifacts bearing similar solar and lunar symbols could now be found in many parts of Europe.  Bronze was such a precious material that it was also used as a means of payment and to make offerings to the gods.  However, this new-fund wealth also resulted in greed and conflict.