Exploring eight millennia of climatic, vegetational and agricultural dynamics on the Swiss Plateau by using annually layered sedimentary time series (LandUse)

In this project we study linkages between vegetation, land use, fire activity and climate at very high resolution and precision (continuous series of 8 years per sample). Our SNF-project is closely linked to a trinational SNF project (DACH) studying the climate and human impacts around annually laminated lakes in Germany (Schleinsee) and Austria (Mondsee).

The project focuses on two small, deep, annually layered (varved) lakes on the Swiss Plateau (Moossee and Burgäschisee). With varves it is possible to enhance the chronological precision of sedimentary sequences. The settlement periods were sometimes very short (less than 15 years). Combined with a high resolution, the high precision of the varve chronologies will likely allow identifying these cultural phases and their environmental effects as well as the linkage to climatic conditions with an error which may in the best case reach that of dendrochronological dating as applied in archaeological studies. This will allow to match the paleoecological and archaeological evidence to gain better insights into causes and effects of prehistorical societal changes.

Laminated sediments
Laminated sediments of Moossee
Fabian Rey
Coring at Burgäschisee

Study Sites

Seismic survey at Moossee


This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)



Willy Tinner, Erika Gobet, Fabian Rey


Albert Hafner (Archeology, University of Bern), Adrian Gilli (Geology, ETH Zurich)