2 Pile-dwelling fever spreads among the population
The pile-dwelling tales triggered a fever in a very short time,
because the strange remains were well preserved objects
from the everyday life of our ancestors.
With stone-age tools and weapons from household, agriculture,
hunting and fishing, people in the 19th century were still well acquainted.
They could even identify with pieces of clothing and jewelry.
A vivid picture of prehistoric times provided fascination through all social classes
and the search for settlements and prehistoric finds exploded abruptly.
The pile-dwelling fever quickly turned into a passion for collecting
and thus also brought negative phenomena with it.
Fishermen specialized in "fishing for antiquities"
and constructed equipment to search for relics of prehistoric times.
This led to a commercial exploitation of the sites
and thus also to unbridled looting.
Unscrupulous craftsmen built and sold fake pile-dwelling objects.
It was not until 1873 that the Bernese government issued a
"Ordinance against the Taking Away and Damage of Ancient Finds in the Lake District"
and thus passed the first law for the protection of archaeological finds and findings
and their preservation for future generations.
Collecting madness and collections
The first collections of pile-dwelling relics resembled the cabinets of curiosities of the 16th century.
They are also the cornerstone of today's collections and museums.
Hundreds of stone implements, wooden tools, textile and net fragments
but also rare bronzes filled the display cases in dense layers.
Large museums needed a basic stock of pile-dwelling finds for their collections
and treasure digging flourished again.
Institutional collecting, however, was in most cases
characterized by the search for national identification.
Especially between Switzerland and Germany, the search became a matter of dispute:
Were the pile-dwellers Celtomans or Germanomans?
Museums became political institutions and a stage for conflicts.
Most exhibitions changed and developed with society and the museum system.
Only a few early display collections retained their original form to this day.
The Rosgarten Museum in Constance (1871) with its pile-dwelling hall
as a protected monument, is one of them.
The Irlet Collection in Twann and the Fürstlich Fürstenberg Collection in Donaueschingen (1863)
also show the early mode of presentation.