Beyond the surface: discovering the invisible heritage of the western Swiss lakes (one day)

8 September


This one-day excursion through the Lakes of Bienne/Biel and Neuchatel will focus on the prehistoric pile-dwellings, classified as UNESCO World Heritage. What archaeological heritage lies under the surface of the lakes? How do we make this underwater heritage visible? What technologies are used? What are the challenges of the conservation? How does the discovery of pile-dwellings contribute to the archaeological research?  And, what are the current challenges of the valorization to the public? The conservation of the organic remains is exceptional and allows us to understand the daily life of prehistoric populations living by the lakes.

During this day trip, participants will meet different pile-dwellings experts and discover the pile-dwelling heritage from several points of view: first, from the diving and research station of the Archaeological Service of the canton of Bern with its dendrochronology lab (Sutz-Lattrigen); then, by visiting the reconstructions in the park and the museum (Laténium) near Neuchâtel. Both sites are located at the heart of a pile-dwellings site, either on the southern shore of Lake Biel/Bienne or on the northern shore of the Lake of Neuchâtel. From the platform in Sutz-Lattrigen, you can observe the underwater piles and hear the explanations of specialists such as Regine Stapfer of the Archaeological Service of the canton of Bern. In the Laténium, the museum positioning itself as the main center for the interpretation of the pile dwellings remains, the visit, led by the director Prof. Marc-Antoine Kaeser, will focus on reconstructions and the pile dwelling collections. Between the visit of the research station (Sutz-Latterigen) and the visit of the Laténium, two boats will drive the participants through the amazing scenery of the two lakes, Biel and Neuchâtel. During the cruise, discussions will be held on the wetlands, and a pile dwellings expert will conduct a landscape reading, highlighting the lake archaeology.


10 - 25 people


150 EUR (includes transportation from and to Bern, 3-hours boat  trip, lunch, guides and tickets to all visits, apéro)


train and boat

Meeting point:

"Treffpunkt" in Bern train station, 8:45

Approximate schedule

 8:45  departure from the “Treffpunkt” (meeting point) in Bern’s train station
 10:00  arrival to Sutz
 10:00 - 11:00  Sutz research stations's visit
 11:30 departure from Sutz to Biel
 11:40  arrival to Biel train station
 12:00  departure from Biel lake landing stage
 12:00 - 15:00  boat cruise on Biel and Neuchatel lakes, lunch discussions on wetlands and archaeological water landscape reading
 15:00  arrival in the Laténium museum
 15:30  guided visit of the Park and exhibition, as well as free visiting time
 17:00  aperitif
 18:00  departure from Saint-Blaise (15 minutes walk from the Laténium) to Bern
 19:00  arrival to Bern

© Fabien Langenegger

© Fabien Langenegger

© Fabien Langenegger