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Story of lake and its peoples resurfaces

The scenic shoreline of Lake Biel with its vineyards is popular with hikers and cyclists. ST / Rolf Neeser / swiss-mage.ch

Spectacular finds made in the 19th century proved that Lake Biel in western Switzerland was already settled 6,000 years ago. A new exhibition ambitiously takes a look at how human and natural factors have altered the landscape.

This content was published on May 9, 2001 - 09:23

The exhibition, called "Landscape Lake Biel - a Biography", is at the "Rebhaus Wingreis" until October 28.

The lake is best known for its vineyards and medieval villages which surround its shores. The organisers of the exhibition now want to show how human activity and the forces of nature have influenced the lake and its landscape.

Rich archaeological evidence, much of which is displayed at the Schwab Museum in the city of Biel, proves that prehistoric people lived in lake settlements in houses built on stilts.

More recently in the 19th century, the lake was made unrecognisable when a series of canals were built to regulate its level. One consequence of that development was the turning of St Peter's Island into a peninsula. As an island, it gave refuge to the great 18th century Genevan writer and philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The organisers hope the exhibition at the Rebhaus Wingreis will be provocative, and make people think about the future of the Lake Biel landscape.

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