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20.5. - 25.5.2018

Experimental archeology in Europe - experiencing knowlegde


Even back in the Stone Age about 6000 years ago, present day Europe was connected by a network of trade routes. Flintstone, copper, amber and in later times tin, glass and iron as well as textiles were traded over long distances. Experimental archeologists study the craftsmanship and skills that are necessary for the exploitation and processing of these raw materials. Demonstrations give a particular vivid picture of their research results for a young and old audience.

The project «Experimental archeology in Europe – experiencing knowlegde» comprises  a series of events, in which specialists from different European countries present their knowledge and experiences – you are welcome to participate!

Simultaneuosly learning stations are developed to guarantee a long-lasting mediacy. The series of events is supplemented by a conference of the «European association for the advancement of archaeology by experiment» (EXAR) which enables  the exchange of new research approaches and results on a scientific level.

Throughout the series of events experiments with  different materials will take place in the open air museum.

This project is a contribution to the European year of cultural heritage „Sharing Heritage 2018“ and is funded by the federal minister for culture and media (BKM).

Sharing Heritage - Europäisches Kulturjahr 2018

Bundesministerium für Kultur und Medien

Part 1: salt and copper

Steaming brine and red-hot metal - How did people once obtain the essential salt far away from the sea and mines? How did they extract the first copper? How did they alloy bronze? Swiss and German experimental archeologists share their knowledge with you about these fascinating technolgies.

Video teaser (please open link in a new tab)



Salt is vital and can be obtained by different methods. One of them is using mineral rich spring water (brine) which gained its salty content by dissolving it our of underground rock layers. This brine is heated in special clay pots sitting on clay columns. These constructions are called „briquetage“. The heat causes the water in the brine to evaporate leaving the salt in the pot. Throughout the process brine is refilled regularly. After 10 – 12 hours the pots are filles with salt.

Mineral-rich spring water only surfaces in certain regions. Traders took the salt-filled pots to other regions.To use the salt the pots have to be shattered. The location of their shards show archeologists the trade routes. 



video (please open link in new tab)



More than 6500 years ago during the Neolithic period people started to make objects out of copper. In these days copper came from Autria (Lake Mondsee) or Italy (Tuscany). To gain the metall, copper ore is heated to a temperature of up to 1100°C. Here we used malachite and azurite and a clay melting pot like they are known to be used in the 4th millennium BC. For the chemical reaction in which copper is melted out oxygen is needed. Here it is added by four men using blowtubes for 4 hours! But the effort is worth it – at the end they gained almost 100g copper -  what a treasure!


Video: smelting  (Bitte den Link in neuem Tab öffnen)



Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. To cast objects the both metalls are heated up to approximately 1000°C. An alloy of a proportion of 9:1 copper to tin is often used because of its qualities.

Here a two-piece mould made out of sandstone is used like they were found in the bronze age (2200 – 800 BC). After the casting the objects have to be whetted and polished.



Video: copper smelting (please open the link in a new tab)

Video: casting  (please open the link in a new tab)


Impressionen der Veranstaltung


To the other parts of the series of events



  alle Angaben ohne Gewähr; Stand Mai 2018



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