United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Pile dwellings: UNESCO World Heritage

The serial of Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps comprises a selection of 111 out of the merely 1000 known archaeological pile-dwelling sites in six countries around the Alps Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia). The serial site is composed by the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements dating from 5000 to 500 BC which are situated under water, on lake shores, along rivers or in wetland, offering exceptional conservation conditions for organic remains such as wood, textiles, plant remains or bonese.

Due to the exceptional wealth of findings, the pile dwellings give precise and detailed perception of the world of the early farmers in Europe, giving precise information on the everyday life, agriculture, animal husbandry and technical innovations. In view of the excellent possibilities of exact dating of the remains of wooden architectural elements (annual resolution by dendrochronology) the understanding of entire prehistoric villages and their detailed spatial development over very long periods can be followed on the pile-dwelling sites, giving the best known archaeological sources for prehistoric dwellings.