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Coping with crises I : subsistence variety and resilience in the Late Neolithic lakeshore settlement Arbon Bleiche 3 (Switzerland)

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  • Archaeology
  • Economics


The site of Arbon Bleiche 3 is located at Lake Constance, canton Thurgau, Switzerland. About half of the original settlement surface was excavated between 1993 and 1995. Due to the waterlogged conditions, the archaeological sediments and the organic remains are very well preserved. Dendrochronological analyses allowed the precise dating of residential structures and the reconstruction of the settlement history in the excavated area. In−depth interdisciplinary analyses of the layer formation processes showed that hardly any horizontal or vertical mixing took place. The settlement is therefore particularly well suited for studying spatial patterns andsocio−economic strategies, in both individual houses and the settlement as a whole. Besides excellent preservation conditions, a short, single−phased occupation (3384−3370 BC), which ended in a devastating fire makes the site particularly valuable, as we can contrast the snapshot captured in the burnt remains with the contents of the cultural layer accumulated during the 15−year occupation. Based on the rich faunal remains from Arbon Bleiche 3 we suggest the existence of a broad and resilient subsistence diversity, which allowed the inhabitants to successfully cope with economic difficulties that probably occured during the final years of the settlement.

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