Research Objectives

Cattle husbandry in Neolithic and Bronze Age Switzerland was affected by cultural influences coming from both the north-east and the south-west, resulting in fluctuations in cattle frequency, body size and shape and probably genetic makeup. New farming innovations have been identified at a site level, but it is unclear how these appear across the wider region at a population level and how these relate to the two areas of cultural influence. LAKEBOS aims to focus in on these issues using both archaeozoological and archaeogenetic methods.

The project will:

RO1 Investigate cattle frequencies in relation to those of other domestic species at Swiss lake sites across the Neolithic and Bronze Age and between the Eastern and Western regions.

RO2 Investigate cattle body size and shape change throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age, making use of the precise dating provided by the exceptional preservation conditions.

RO3 Investigate cattle body size and shape change between the eastern and western lake regions.

RO4 Analyse evidence for cattle age and sex at both Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, using mortality profiles in order to assess the nature of cattle husbandry and the adoption of new innovations such as dairying and traction.

RO5 Use aDNA analyses to undertake a study of genetic diversity, focussing on the Neolithic site of Twann.

RO6 Use the results of RO1-RO5 to investigate the potential for cattle and husbandry innovations to have been brought from central European and Mediterranean areas by comparing cattle body size, age profiles and genetics with the data available from neighbouring areas.