Already in 1970, 2 Early Bronze Age graves dating to ca. 3800 BP were discovered at the Holleeweg in Spiez-Einigen, Ct. Berne, Switzerland. A concentration of graves dating to this period is known from the region around the Lake of Thun, Switzerland. It was therefore not much of a surprise to find more graves during building work carried out right next to the graves that were dug almost 40 years ago.
The newly discovered graves are well preserved. Two graves contain the skeleton of a woman. The other grave is actually a double grave of two young children. Of the grave-structures only the underground parts are preserved. These consist of grave pits, lined with stones. They were probably also covered with stones.
The skeletons and the grave goods are very well preserved. The grave goods of the women include wrist-bracelets, bronze pins (incl. a two-egged pin), finger-rings, a bronze necklace and hair adornments made of parallel placed bronze tubes at the back of the skull. At least one of the children also wore a finger-ring. The grave goods can typologically be dated in the period about 1800-1600 BC. The pottery found on site confirms this date.
Even though no building remains were found, it can still be expected – because of the quantity of recovered ceramic – that a settlement existed in the immediate vicinity.
It is likely that the region formed part of transit-routes across the Alpes, as earlier finds and also the finds from these graves are known in various regions north and south of the Alpes.
Post-ex and anthropological work should shed more light on this. A re-analysis of the graves dug in1970 will probably be part of this.
Many thanks to Regula Gubler for the information & the photos!
UPDATE. The excavations have now been published:
Gubler, R. 2010. Spiez-Einigen, Holleeweg 3. Gräber am Übergang zwischen Früh- und Mittelbronzezeit, In Archäologie Bern/Archéologie bernoise. Jahrbuch des Archäologischen Dienstes des Kantons Bern/Annuaire du Service archéologique du canton de Berne, 147-173.
Cooper, C., Harbeck, M., Kühn, M., Rast-Eicher, A., Schweissig, M., Ulrich-Bochsler, S. & Vandorpe, P. 2010. Spiez-Einigen, Holleeweg 3: Naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zu den bronzezeilichen Bestattungen, In Archäologie Bern/Archéologie bernoise. Jahrbuch des Archäologischen Dienstes des Kantons Bern/Annuaire du Service archéologique du canton de Berne, 2010, 175-198.