Horgen culture

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Horgen culture
Geographical range Southern Germany and Switzerland near Lake Constance, Rhine river basin.
Period Later Neolithic
Dates 3,500–2,850 BC
Characteristics simple pottery, well-developed stone tools, lake shore settlements
Preceded by Pfyn culture

The Horgen culture is one of several archaeological cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Horgen culture may derive from the Pfyn culture and early Horgen pottery is similar to the earlier Cortaillod culture pottery of Twann, Switzerland.[1] It is named for one of the principal sites, in Horgen, Switzerland.


Dates and locations of prehistoric Swiss cultures

The Horgen culture started around 3500/3400 cal BC and lasting until 2850 cal BC. Tree ring dates range from 3370 – 2864 BC.[1]


The Horgen core area is in Northern Switzerland and Southwest Germany near Lake Constance, but it may have reached farther north along the Rhine River.[1] It may have had ties to the French Seine-Oise-Marne culture. [2] Sites include Horgen, Hauterive-Champréves, Eschenz and Zürich.

At Feldmeilen-Vorderfeld and Meilen on the right bank of Lake Zurich near Zürich, four layers of Pfyn culture artifacts (4350-3950 BC calibrated) are followed by five Horgen culture (3350-2950 BC) layers were found at Feldmeilen. In nearby Meilen, one Pfyn layer (4250-4000 BC) followed by three Horgen (3300-2500 BC) layers were discovered.[3]


Horgen culture ceramic, found at Sechseläutenplatz, Zürich, Grabung Parkhaus Opéra

There were three phases of pottery; early, middle and late. The early pottery exhibits an affinity with the Pfyn and maybe the Cortaillod at Twann, Switzerland. The spindle whorls on the pottery may indicate connections to the southern Funnelbeaker culture and early Baden culture. The middle phase (found at Naschdorf-Strandbad, Lake Constance and Dullenried, Federsee) may be influenced by more westerly traditions. The final Horgen phase exhibits similarities to the Burgerroth, Wartberg, and Goldberg III cultures.[1]

The pottery was less refined and decorated than the earlier Cortaillod culture. However, the flint industry was well developed and produced elegant stone tools.[2]

Pigs became increasing important during the Horgen era. Pig bones were the most common bones found in the village midden heaps, accounting for up to 70% of all bones.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Comparative Archeology Web accessed 28 June 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Barbara A. Purdy; National Endowment for the Humanities; University of Florida (1988). Wet site archaeology. CRC Press. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-0-936923-08-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Rainer Berger; Hans Eduard Suess (1979). Radiocarbon dating: proceedings of the ninth international conference, Los Angeles and La Jolla, 1976. University of California Press. pp. 104–107. ISBN 978-0-520-03680-2. Retrieved 7 July 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Francesco Menotti (2004). Living on the lake in prehistoric Europe: 150 years of lake-dwelling research. Routledge. pp. 154–. ISBN 978-0-415-31719-1. Retrieved 28 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>