Lucerne aged by 2.400 years thanks to new archaeological discovery

Lucerne aged by 2.400 years thanks to new archaeological discovery

A new discovery has proven that Lucerne has been lying about its age all this time. Thanks to new archaeological discoveries found under Lake Lucerne, experts now estimate that the city is actually 5.400 years old, 2.400 years older than once assumed. 

Archaeologists discover 5.400-year old settlement in Lucerne

According to an official press release from the cantonal government of Lucerne, it turns out that the jewel of central Switzerland is about 2.400 years older than once suspected. Cantonal archaeologist Jürg Manser said that they have found evidence that a Neolithic pile-dwelling settlement was built in the city.

The settlements were some of the earliest permanent homes in human history, consisting of houses built on stilts on top of shallow lakes or marshlands. For the best insight into these ancient communities, there is a fascinating Lake Dwelling Museum just across the border in Uhldingen-Mühlhofen in Germany, as well as on the banks of Lake Biel / Bienne. 

Discoveries made beneath Lake Lucerne

The excavation was begun after evidence of a smaller, younger settlement was discovered during a project at Lucerne Main Station. Since autumn 2021, scientists have begun to uncover a dark layer of organic matter, 1,5 metres below the bottom of Lake Lucerne - suggesting human habitation on the water. Now, using a sonar device, they were finally able to make out the remains of a Neolithic village underneath the lake.

“With the current new findings, we can clearly prove that the history of Lucerne begins with a Neolithic pile-dwelling settlement. This is truly a sensation - and means that people were already settling in the area of ​​today’s city 5.400 years ago!” Manser told the media. Indeed, this means that Lucerne was not founded around 1.000 years before the birth of Christ, but in 3.400 BC. 

Lucerne roughly as old as the city of Rome

This would make it roughly as old as some of Europe’s greatest cities - Rome has been inhabited for at least 5.000 years. “The discovery of this Neolithic site means that the historiography for the Lucerne settlement area must be rewritten and is of the highest scientific importance,” the government wrote. 

The cantonal government confirmed that experts will continue to analyse the site, predicting that other neolithic settlements could be found around the rest of the lake and the River Reuss. For more information, check out the official press release (in German).

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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