Entering the New Bronze Era
The change from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age in Grisons occurred some 4,000 years ago. Our exhibit dates from that era, a bronze casting mould made of Lavez stone (soapstone) found during archaeological excavations in Savognin-Padnal. A model of this settlement is displayed in the showcase opposite, showing that humans on the Padnal site had mastered a technique new at that time: casting bronze, an alloy consisting of one part tin and nine parts copper, and harder than any previously known metals, used in tools, weapons or for jewellery as our exhibit shows.
While copper ore was found in various places in Grisons, tin had to be imported from the North. The process of bronze casting, together with the mining and commerce it involved, led to the founding of many settlements in Grisons. Over time, varieties of cultural traditions established themselves: humans shaped clay in different manners, buried their dead in their own ways, and took care of their centres of cult worship. At the same time, these communities all engaged in commercial exchange across the Alpine passes, which also exposed them to various forms of cultural influence.
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