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Large assemblage of Bronze Age artefacts found in Oberhalbstein

Archaeologists from the Graubünden Archaeological Service have uncovered a large assemblage of Bronze Age artefacts during excavations near an ancient settlement at the foot of Motta Vallac, located in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.

Excavations were part of the CVMBAT research project to survey the landscape for remains of conflict sites between the Romans and the Suanetes, a Rhaetian Alpine tribe whose language and culture was related to those of the Etruscan culture.

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The focus of the research was a battlefield site from the Roman Alpine campaign from around 15 BC, A conflict which resulted in Rhaetian territories being annexed by the expanding Roman Empire.

The site is located in the ‘Vostga’ area, south of the important prehistoric settlement of Motta Vallac, near Salouf, in close connection with a central trans-Alpine traffic route.

The discovery was made following a survey of the area around the Crap-Ses Gorge, revealing 80 bronze objects which were buried in a narrowly defined pit.

The assemblage of objects dates from the 12th to 11th century BC, consisting of sickles, several axes, a fragment of a saw, decorative items, and raw pieces made of copper.

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The finds were found in the remains of a wooden box which was wrapped in leather and either placed as an offering by intentionally damaging selective pieces, or possibly for safeguarding during times of conflict.

“The comprehensive scientific investigation that will now follow this discovery will provide far-reaching insights into late Bronze Age cultural, economic, and landscape history,” says Thomas Reitmaier, an archaeologist for the Graubünden canton.

The CVMBAT project is scheduled to run for six years. After ongoing surveys of the landscape around the research area, there will be an exhibition and publication of the finds in 2026.

Canton of Graubünden

Header Image Credit : Canton of Graubünden

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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