The Neolithic Bow Case from Lenk, Schnidejoch

A Technological and Cultural Analysis


  • Jürgen Junkmanns University of Bern
  • Johanna Klügl University of Bern, Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern, Bern University of the Arts
  • Giovanna Di Pietro University of Bern
  • Albert Hafner University of Bern



Neolithic, Archery Equipment, Bow Case, Schnidejoch


The find of a yet unknown type of birch bark container in the site of Schnidejoch (Bernese Alps, Switzerland) was a surprise, for in all the wetland or lakeshore sites of Europe no parallels to this unique object are known to date. First, when only a small part was discovered, it was supposed to have been part of an arrow quiver. However, with the final appearance of the ca. 170 cm long container, it needed a new interpretation. The yew bow found at the same site, 160.5 cm long, would fit perfectly inside. Two silex arrowheads found in the bottom confirm an association with archery. The find could be identified as the first Neolithic bow case.

Author Biographies

Jürgen Junkmanns, University of Bern

Jürgen Junkmanns is freelance archaeologist. He studied at the Universities of Köln and Tübingen. He is specialized in Experimental Archaeology and renowned as an expert for prehistoric technologies, especially bow and arrow technology.

Johanna Klügl, University of Bern, Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern, Bern University of the Arts

Johanna Klügl is a conservator specialized in bast, bark and wood objects at the Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern Switzerland. She is responsible for the preservation of the perishable ice patch finds from the Schnidejoch und Lötschenpass. She obtained her degree in 2007 at the HTW Berlin and holds a master degree in Conservation-Restauration (2013) of the Berne University of the Arts and a Master of Arts in Research on the Arts from the University of Bern (2015). Currently she is working on her dissertation at the University of Bern focused on the conservation of the Neolithic birch bark bow case from the Schnidejoch. Her main research interest is to understand the structure of tree barks and the influence of degradation on their properties in order to develop appropriate conservation methods. She is member of ICOM Switzerland and ICOM-CC.

Giovanna Di Pietro, University of Bern

Giovanna Di Pietro is professor of conservation science at the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the University of applied Sciences in Bern Switzerland. She holds a PhD in physical Chemistry from the University of Basel (2002) and a master degree in Physics from the University of Milano (1994). She has 25 years of experience in the field of cultural heritage and in this area has worked of topics including microclimate, air pollution, color science. Recently her research has focused on the degradation of archaeological organic materials and on the development of the didactics of natural sciences for conservator-restorers. She is member of Icom Switzerland.

Albert Hafner, University of Bern

Albert Hafner is full Professor and director at the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bern/Switzerland. He studied at the Universities of Tübingen, Freiburg im Breisgau and Zurich. His career began with large scale underwater rescue excavations in Neolithic and Bronze Age sites of Western Switzerland. He participated in the core group of the UNESCO world heritage project “Prehistoric pile-dwellings around the Alps,” successful in 2011. From 2004 on he was responsible for the Schnidejoch expeditions focusing on a high-alpine ice patch site in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland with finds from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. His ongoing research is related to submerged prehistoric settlements in lakes of the south-western Balkans and Switzerland and prehistoric landuse of alpine environments.


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How to Cite

Junkmanns, J. ., Klügl, J. ., Di Pietro, G. ., & Hafner, A. (2021). The Neolithic Bow Case from Lenk, Schnidejoch: A Technological and Cultural Analysis. Journal of Glacial Archaeology, 5, 5–50.




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