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Stone spearheads and iron swords

Man-made objects found on the glacier beside the Matterhorn date back thousands of years (Swiss Image) Man-made objects found on the glacier beside the Matterhorn date back thousands of years (Swiss Image)

Man's prehistoric journey through the Alps is the subject of a new series of exhibitions and events in Switzerland.

This content was published on August 14, 2002 - 12:26

Visitors keen to follow in the footsteps of those who first wandered through the Alps should start at a former prison in Sion.

Until January 2003, the former prison - located in the canton Valais capital - will be home to the exhibition, "The First Men of the Alps", presented by Valais' Natural History Museum. Objects including spearheads and human bones bear witness to the fact that man has inhabited the higher regions of the Alps for thousands of years.

Iron, Fire, Cult

Running parallel is an exhibition, "Iron, Fire, Cult", at the Schwab archaeological museum in Biel, highlighting the iron-making skills of the Celts, who lived about 4,000 years ago in the western region of what is now Switzerland.

Taking pride of place in the exhibition, which also runs until January, is an iron sword from the Celtic La Tène culture, excavated on the shores of nearby Lake Neuchâtel in the 19th century.

The Schwab, as well as the neighbouring art and history museums, Centre Pasqu'Art and Neuhaus, is celebrating the full moon on August 23 by keeping its doors open until the early hours of the morning.

Celtic House

Beginning the same night, the "Celtic House" in the Bernese pre-Alps is hosting a three-day music festival dedicated to indigenous cultures. Medieval music from the Balkans, African folk and funk, reggae and traditional Irish songs will fill the house with exotic but earthy sounds.

The organiser of the festival will also guide paying guests through the Celtic House, which he built using techniques and materials available to the Celts who once lived in the region. He also incorporated methods learned first-hand from various indigenous cultures.

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