The Slovenia Times

Work begins on pre-historic pile dwelling village replica near Ljubljana


At the confluence of two small rivers east of the Ig village, visitors will be catapulted back about 5,000 years, when stilt houses were used as an anti-flooding dwelling method in several areas around the Alps.

Coupled with a centre focusing on biotic diversity, the exhibition will provide insight into the pile dwellings in general as well as into the history of research dealing with the phenomenon.

The Ig municipality, the main partner in the project which is waiting for a building permit, told the STA that the village will consist of five independent buildings.

Elena Leghissa of the Archaeology Institute at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) explained three of them, located on a lake shore, will be accessible via a wooden pathway on stilts. The other two, set up on a wet meadow, will only be intended for external observation.

Various activities, including pottery, plant collection and cultivation, metal working, livestock breeding, hunting, fishing and transport means, will be presented in the houses.

Leghissa said that research done so far on the Ljubljana Marshes dwellings suggested individual huts had specific functions. One of them was for instance discovered to have focused on working metal.

Insight into everyday life in a stilt house village will be provided through replicas of various findings and select material. Pottery will for instance be presented in all of its stages - the obtaining of raw materials, manufacture and ornamentation.

The replicated village is to be based on two dwellings discovered in the Ljubljana Marshes, where detailed findings were made in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

According to Leghissa, findings in Ljubljana and elsewhere in Europe show that the prehistoric stilt houses had a pitched roof, probably made of straw, and walls consisting of intertwined twigs and branches and layers of clay.

The choice of materials for the house replicas and the inside features will be based on meticulous research that has been conducted at the Archaeology Institute for decades.

The exhibition will also feature some original finds, including of ceramic pottery discovered at dwellings near Ig.

Leghissa said that these dwellings were among the best known in the wider area of the south-eastern Alps and of the northern Adriatic and that their ceramic pottery was considered the pinnacle of pottery achievements from the pile dwelling era.

The Ljubljana Marshes dwellings were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 as part of an international bid, featuring 111 small individual sites around the Alps, built from around 5000 to 500 B.C. on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands.

The countries involved along with Slovenia were Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany and Italy. While they manage the dwellings together, the responsibility for preserving and presenting the heritage rests with individual countries, Leghissa explained.

The dwellings are presently being presented in 68 museums and more than 25 archaeological parks, each having its own little specifics.

The Ljubljana Marshes project entitled Interpretation of Biological Diversity and Pile Dwellings Heritage is valued at EUR 2.3 million, the bulk of which is to come from EU and state funds.

The construction of the interpretation centre, which will be located in Ig and whose main purpose will be raising awareness about the history and biodiversity of the Ljubljana Marshes, has already begun, while construction work for the village is expected to resume next year and conclude by September 2021.


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