UNESCO E-library of Park Škocjan Caves and The Karst Biosphere Reserve

Ljubljana Moor – Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps – Pile dwelling near Ig, Slovenia,

Dejan Veranič

There is no place in the world where you could so accurately follow the development of prehistoric cultures, such as on the lakes and wetlands of the alpine region. The sites are preserved under water and in the marshes. On the surface, they are barely visible. They are a tremendous source of information for archaeologists, botanists, zoologists, dendrocronologists, climatologists, geologists and others.

maharski-prekopfoto: Tatjana Bregant

In the Southern Alps, the phenomenon of pile dwellings on the shores of alpine lakes and wetlands appeared cca. 5300 BC.  It appeared also 4300 BC in the northern Alps. The oldest pile dwelling in Slovenia is Resnikov prekop, 4600 BC. Pile dwellings had several advantages versus terrestrial villages: Life on the shores of the mean, proximity to the fields, pastures and abundance of water, which was beneficial for transport routes and fishing. Construction of houses on piles was relatively easy, while the elevation of the ground allowed a better view and security in the event of armed conflict. Comparable archaeological finds shows, that the Alpine area was relatively homogenous. It is further divided into around thirty cultural groups. The Ljubljana moor pile dwellings had a three millennia long span of about forty pile dwellings, which ended in the Middle Bronze Age around 1600 BC. The reason was that the lake transform into a swamp. Elsewhere in the Alps such settlements lived further into the late Bronze Age around 850 BC and in some cases even as late as to the early Iron Age around 500 BC.

Where there was a lake in the time of pile dwellings nowadays is the Ljubljana moor; a 150 km2 big wetland. It is situated just next to the capital. A mosaic of different habitats provides living space for many, including vulnerable and endangered, species. Due to abundance of diverse wildlife, Ljubljana moor is part of the European network of protected areas Nature 2000. Since 2008, the area has been declared a regional park.
It was in June 2011, when pile dwellings, under the leadership of Switzerland, were with an international nomination of the Alpine countries, enlisted in the World Heritage List. From about 1000 known sites in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and France, 111 sites have been proposed, of which two groups of pile dwellings are in Ig. The Public institution, Krajinski Park Ljubljansko barje, became the manager of the pile dwellings in Ig and a member of the International Coordination Group. The area of ​​Pile dwellings in Ig was declared as a monument of national importance on 02/01/2014.

Izdelava: Studio Matris