Vestiges des cimes, catalogue de l’exposition Musée d’Annecy (F)
L’archéologie glaciaire dans les Alpes suisses
Pierre-Yves Nicod, Philippe Curdy
JGA 6 (2022) 47–78
A Glacial Archaeology Update from the Canton of Valais, Switzerland (and a call for citizen scientists)
MONOGRAFIE DES ARCHÄOLOGISCHEN DIENSTES DES KANTONS BERN, 2015, BAND 1 + 2
Schnidejoch und Lötschenpass
During the hot summer of 2003, a hiker discovered an archaeological object freed by the ice in Schnidejoch in the western Bernese Alps. In the years that followed, meticulous excavations were carried out at this alpine site. This publication presents the results of the interdisciplinary site evaluation carried out by a team of 30 specialists under the direction of Albert Hafner in two volumes in French and German.
NIKE BULLETIN 3, 2019, 35 – 38
Glacial archaeological heritage in Switzerland: opportunities and risks
For more than 150 years, global warming has caused melting of glacial masses at the poles and, even more strikingly, in the Alps. In the high mountains, this phenomenon – which succeeded the cold period of the Little Ice Age (14th–19th centuries) – has exposed many areas previously covered by ice. It is estimated that between the middle of the 19th and the end of the 20th century, glacial surfaces decreased by 50% in the Alpine massif. Archaeological objects, some of which are several millennia old and preserved by freezing, are appearing in the open air. These finds are profoundly altering our understanding of the use of high-altitude passes and the life of communities outside inhabited areas.
JOURNAL OF GLACIAL ARCHAEOLOGY 3, 2018, 27 – 41
Glacial Archaeology in the Pennine Alps, Switzerland / Italy, 2011 to 2014
This report summarizes a glacial archaeology project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) which took place between 2011 and 2014. This interdisciplinary project integrated methods from archaeology, history, and geography and resulted in the collection of more than one hundred objects of archaeological interest. Until now, 37 of those objects have been dated using radiocarbon analysis and range from the Bronze Age to modern times. The final results are presented and discussed and perspectives are offered in regard to future regional scale, interdisciplinary, glacial archaeological projects.
SONDERDRUCK AUS ARCHAEOLOGISCHES KORRESPONDENZBLATT 50, 2020, 497 – 512
An enigmatic iron age wooden artefact discovered on the Col Collon (3068 m a.s.l., Evolène, Ct. Valais / CH)
For several years, as a consequence of global warming, there has been an increase of discoveries related to glacial archaeology, in particular in the Alpine massif. This article presents a wooden artefact dated to the last two centuries BC, found at an altitude of 3000m on the Haut Glacier d’Arolla, near the Italian-Swiss border. This object represents a schematic full-length human figure, with no arms, resting on a shaft ending in a blunted point. In stylistic terms, the wooden statues of the Celtic world can serve as a reference, however, as far as function is concerned, this piece finds comparisons in utensils and tools like distaffs, weaver knives or miniature swords. In conjunction with other wooden objects discovered on the Col Collon and other central-western Alpine passage routes, these artefacts all bear witness to the exchanges and goods circulation between Southern and Northern Europe in pre- and protohistorical eras. This object, which was transmitted to scientists 20 years after its dicovery, is emblematic of glacial archaeology in that most finds are being made by non-professionals. Today, in the Alpine region, there is a true urgency to coordinate efforts among archaeological and heritage institutions, and to involve non-archaeologists in the localisation, gathering and preservation of these fragile vestiges.
BULLETIN D’ETUDES PREHISTORIQUES ET ARCHEOLOGIQUES ALPINES XXVII, 2016, 247 – 262
Evaluation du potentiel archéologique sur les cols des Alpes pennines et lépontines (Canton du Valais, Suisse)
Introduction / Archéologie glaciaire et système d’information géographique / Analyse du trajet optimal à l’aide du calcul du « chemin du moindre coût » / Calcul du « chemin du moindre coût » : modèle ponctuel / Modèle linéaire : simulations de trajectoires entre vallées alpines / Potentiel archéologique des glaciers en relation avec l’évolution du retrait glaciaire / Conclusions / Annexe 1 : un manche de faucille découvert à 3440 m d’altitude dans la région du Théodule / Annexe 2 : Liste des dates C14 obtenues sur les éléments en bois récoltés / Bibliographie.
BOOK: 400 Jahre im Gletschereis. Der Theodulpass bei Zermatt und sein «Söldner», 2016
Morphologie, Entwicklung un archäologisches Potenzial des Theodulgletschers: gestern, heute und morgen, 29-35
Geografische Lage / Holozäne Gletscherschwankungen in den schweizer Alpen / Der Aletsch- und Der Gornergletscher / Die Schwankungen des Theodulgletschers / Der Aktuelle Stand Des Theodulgletschers / Die zukünftige Entwicklung des Oberen Theodul-Gletschers / GLACIARCH: ein theoretisches Modell zur Bestimmung von Gebieten auf dem Theodulgletschers und in seiner unmittelbaren Nähe, welche heute und zukünftig von archäologischem Interesse sein könnten.
Die Penninischen Hochalpenpässe und ihr archäologisches Potenzial: ein Vorhersagemodell, 22 – 24
Gletscherarchäologie in den Penninischen Alpen / Geoinformationssysteme in der Gletscherarchäologie / Die Anwendung GIS-gestützter Simulationen in den Penninischen Alpen.
JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE 52, 2014, 410-420
Combining glaciological and archaeological methods for gauging glacial archaeological potential
Recent climate changes have led to an increase in the exposure of archaeological remains in frozen environments due to the melting of glaciers and ice patches, and the thawing of permafrost. In some cases, the discovery of glacial archaeological findings has occurred due to chance. In order to avoid the risk of losing exceptional, often organic, cultural remains due to decomposition, systematic and predictive methods should be employed to locate areas of high glacial archaeological potential. Here, we merged archaeological and glaciological methods to create a new type of archaeological prediction model in the field of glacial archaeology. Locational analysis and glaciological modelling were used to highlight current and future areas of archaeological potential in the Pennine Alps, located between Switzerland and Italy. Future glacier area was calculated in 10 year increments until 2100. By 2090, 93% of glacier area is expected to have disappeared. The results from the final model, GlaciArch, provide new insights into future glacial archaeological prospection in the Pennine Alps by narrowing down a study region of 4500 km2 into several manageable square kilometer sites.
VALLESIA LXIX, 2014, 453 -521
Cols secondaires des Alpes valaisannes, entre le col de Cleuson et le Griespass. Etat des sources historiques et essai de synthèse
Le but de cette étude historique menée sur la base des parcours proposés par le Système d’Information Géographique, a été de vérifier si les sources attestaient de la fréquentation des cols de haute altitude: le corpus se basait entre autres sur des textes de voyageurs ou des documents provenant des Recès de la Diète valaisanne (XVème – XVIIIe s.), c’est-à-dire du «Parlement» valaisan de l’époque. Souvent, le nombre de témoignages écrits tendait à augmenter lors de périodes de tensions politiques ou de conflits commerciaux entre vallées alpines italiennes et valaisannes. Les résultats, synthétisant une documentation majoritairement déjà connue sur ces passages, ont démontré l’usage régulier de certains de ces cols aujourd’hui couverts de glace.
MILLENI, STUDI DI ARCHEOLOGIA PREISTORICA , PREDICTING PREHISTORY, 11, 2015, 85 – 96
Prehistoric settlement evolution in the upper Rhone valley (Western Alps): an upgraded version
After the end of the last Ice Age, Mesolithic hunters-gatherers seemed to have colonized the Rhone Valley (Valais, Switzerland) in a south-north direction, over the mountain passes connecting northern Italy to the Rhone Valley and a western route by Lake Geneva and Swiss Midlands. It is presumed that early Neolithic culture spread to Valais following these south-north journeys. The Bronze Age reveals a strong demographic development. Later on, mountain passes seem to have played a more important role and the alpine communities profited from their location between south and north-alpine Europe. The economic management of the production zones can be seen as an attempt to control the differing altitude levels over time, cumulating in the Iron Age, with the first graveyards and permanent settlements in middle altitude. This was understood to indicate an economic organization of the region which generally remained until recent times, at least in certain regions of the Rhone Valley.
© A. Houot et E. Charrance, MC VS / MCAH VD / MAH GE
© A. Houot et E. Charrance, MC VS / MCAH VD / MAH GE
MILLENI, STUDI DI ARCHEOLOGIA PREISTORICA , PREDICTING PREHISTORY, 11, 2015, 49-64
Least cost path analysis for predicting glacial archaeological site potential: scale and parameter investigations
Increasing global temperatures are causing shrinkage in Earth’s frozen environments due to the melting of ice and snow at high latitudes and altitudes. This phenomenon is relevant from many environmental perspectives as well as from an archaeological standpoint. Archaeological remains or artefacts which have been locked in frozen environments for hundreds or thousands of years are at risk of becoming exposed due to increased melting at high altitudes and latitudes. In an attempt to gauge archaeological potential in a mountainous region in western Europe, we further develop the least cost path analysis (LCPA) work conducted by Rogers et al. (2014) to investigate the results of least cost path (LCP) modelling in mountainous terrain. Different geographic scales and various parameter weighting schemes are used to test the effects of these changes on the resulting LCPs. The results show both similarities and differences between the paths calculated from the point and line scales and that increasing parameter weights in the LCPA model affect the spatial distribution of paths, and their respective travel times.
PROCEEDINGS, 41st COMPUTER APPLICATION AND QUANTITATIVE METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY CONFERENCE, PERTH, WA, (25-28 March 2013), 2015, 261-275
Least cost path analysis for predicting glacial archaeological site potential in central Europe
Recent changes in climate have led to an increased exposure of glacial archaeological artefacts due to the melting of glaciers and ice patches. Here we calculated Least Cost Paths (LCPs) between archaeologically significant locations in Switzerland and Italy using a Least Cost Path Analysis (LCPA) method in which cost rasters were first calibrated at a study site near Haut-Val de Réchy, Switzerland to develop a prehistoric cost raster. Tools were used to calculate the LCPs based on DEM-derived slope using Tobler’s anisotropic hiking function and landcover. Our results have since provided a focus for prehistoric glacial archaeological prospection in the Pennine Alps of central Europe, as well as led to the discovery of an artefact from the Bronze Age (~2,800 years BP). This methodology could be used as an example for identifying additional sites of prehistoric glacial archaeological remains around the world.
© A. Houot et E. Charrance, MC VS / MCAH VD / MAH GE
JOURNAL OF GLACIAL ARCHAEOLOGY 1, 2014, 99-115
An overview of selected GIS methods available for use in glacial archaeology
In recent years, increased levels of glacial retreat and ice patch melt due to a warming climate in high altitudes have revealed new opportunities to study glacial archaeology. When artifacts become exposed, they are vulnerable to decomposition and should be collected promptly to protect their (pre)historic properties. Therefore, there is urgency to locate potential archaeological sites to avoid the loss of culturally significant remains. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to help focus or predict potential glacial archaeological study areas based on their environmental and cultural characteristics. Here, an overview of the possibilities for glacial archaeological research using the spatial analysis methods of visibility, locational, and least-cost path analyses (LCPA) in GIS, is provided.
DOSSIER « GLETSCHERARCHÄOLOGIE » – « ARCHEOLOGIE GLACIAIRE », BULLETIN SAGW, 2, 2019
Full Documentation (German-French)
Glaciers are dwindling archives. Again and again they reveal archaeologically interesting objects that have been preserved in the ice for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years.
With this publication, the SAGW would like to sensitise a broad public to the topic of « glacier archaeology » and inform them about the correct handling of archaeological finds in the high alpine region.
DOSSIER « GLETSCHERARCHÄOLOGIE » – « ARCHEOLOGIE GLACIAIRE », BULLETIN SAGW, 2, 2019, 42-45
Franchir les cols et exploiter
les ressources d’altitude
Sous l’effet du réchauffement climatique, les glaciers alpins libèrent de plus en plus fréquemment des vestiges archéologiques en excellent état de conservation. Ces objets nous fournissent de précieuses informations, en particulier sur les déplacements en haute altitude de nos aïeux et sur les activités qu’ils y pratiquaient.
© A. Héritier, MC VS