3 The pile dwellers as ancestors
A modern and politically effective myth in the late 19th century
A significant role in the so-called pile-dwelling romanticism
was contributed by the Swiss federal state, which came into existence in 1848.
The national state (Confoederatio Helvetica) lacked an identification myth,
which could only emerge through the newly discovered pile dwelling settlements.
Large parts of the population let themselves be fascinated by the
romantic idea of the lake dwellings.
The pile dwellers were suitable as idealized ancestors and forefathers for all Swiss.
In the prehistoric farmers one saw hard-working original Swiss,
archaeologically proven by numerous tools from the settlements.
A social hierarchy was not recognizable in the findings.
Thus, a politically effective picture of a society could be drawn,
which was autonomous, based on solidarity, freedom and equality.
Weapons and cult objects were increasingly found in other parts of Europe as well
and reinforced the Swiss myth - and with it the beginning
of the spreading pile-dwelling romanticism.
An unspoiled natural state of man
- the human being as a "noble savage" - served as an orientation
and shaped the romantic conception of this epoch.
The living conditions of the inhabitants of the settlement at that time were idyllically transfigured,
and harmonious clans and families in a romantic environment
served as a model for meaning and a role model.
The key factor here was the model of Ferdinand Keller
and his pile-dwelling settlement on a platform in a Swiss lake
with mountains in the background.
The popularity rises
In the second half of the 19th century - a late romantic imaginative world -
the idea of an idyllic pile-dwelling village and its inhabitants provided much inspiration.
In Central Europe, media picked up on the pile-dwelling theme
and transported it into the public consciousness through stories.
Motifs appeared in magazines, calendars, almanacs, and schoolbooks.
Pile dwellers were omnipresent in literary works, films, and especially art.
Now the pile-dwelling theory gained international importance
and Switzerland presented its prehistory at world exhibitions.
The romanticized ideas were also increasingly found
in popular science and scientific publications.