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‘Exceptional’ Bronze Age artefacts unearthed in Switzerland

80 rare artefacts discovered in canton Graubünden.
Bronze Age sickles, axes, needles, pieces of metal and saw fragments discovered near Salouf, a former battlefield in southeast Switzerland dating back to the Roman campaign in the Alps in 15 BC. Canton Graubünden

Around 80 rare artefacts from the late Bronze Age, including jewellery, sickles and axes, have been discovered in the Albula region in southeast Switzerland.

This “exceptional” discovery represents “the finest hour for Graubünden archaeology”, said the canton’s archaeological service in a press releaseExternal link on Tuesday. Archaeologists believe the objects date from the 12th and 11th centuries BC.

The artefacts were found at the foot of the Motta Vallac archaeological site, near Salouf, a former battlefield dating back to the Roman campaign in the Alps in 15 BC. The area has been the subject of various excavations over the past three years.

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The archaeological service believes the 80 unearthed objects had been deliberately deposited, buried or hidden. Most of the metal objects are made of cast iron or copper. There are also several Bronze Age sickles, axes, a fragment of a saw and pieces of jewellery and clothing.

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Analyses show that the objects were deposited in the ground in a wooden crate and wrapped in leather. This is “by far the largest and most important” find from this period in the canton, the archaeological service said.

The excavations were carried out in collaboration with volunteers as part of the “CVMBAT” project in collaboration with the University of Basel, the Swiss Prospecting Working Group and the Federal Office of Culture.


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