Grand Pressigny dagger from the Lac de Neuchatel

palafit aggsbachs dagger

This is a small (8 cm) Grand Pressigny dagger from the Lac de Neuchatel found by an enthousiastic amateur during the late 19th century whithout any contexttual information. It seems that this small artifact was the end-product of repeated reworking.

The “Grand Pressigny phenomenon”, early described in the 1860ies (  is characterized by the production of thousands very long flint blades, made from the yellow wax-coloured flint from Grand-Pressigny area and their abundant and wide-ranging distribution (longest distance: 970 km) across Europe.  This phenomenon is dated to the end of the third millennium.

In N/W-Europe Grand Pressigny daggers are associated with male graves during the later part of the Single Grave Culture, between c. 2650-2400. There is every reason to assume that during the following Bell Beaker Culture period (c. 2400-1900 BC) copper daggers replaced these flint daggers as prestige items and status indicators (

Some 1000 pile dwelling sites, dated to the middle and late Neolithic and even inhabited at several stations until the Iron age, are known from around the Alps. They are spread across Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, northern Italy and eastern France. They are often located on the shores of lakes, in the boggy areas of dried up bodies of water and, more rarely, in the flood plains of rivers. Due to their location in waterlogged soil, constructional timbers, food remains, wooden tools and even items of clothing have survived. Therefore, these settlement remains offer more detailed insight into the prehistoric lifestyle: they are the most important sources for research into early farming communities in Europe.

In what is now Switzerland, the Grand Pressigny daggers are dated between 2750-2500 and were found at many prehistoric lake-side villages from the hilly Mittelland region, which stretches from Lake Constance to Lake Geneva. Besides Grand Pressigny flint and local chert sources, high-quality imported flint from other equaly far-off deposits was also used (Rijholt, NL; Meusnes, Origny, Mont Ventoux,   FR; Monte Baldo and Monte Lessini, IT).

Suggested Reading:


1282 Views since 2/2016 2 Views Today

About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
This entry was posted in Plaeolithics and Neolithics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grand Pressigny dagger from the Lac de Neuchatel

  1. J. T. says:

    It appears that the Grand Pressigny daggers were the West’s answer to the so called “super blades” of the Balkan chalcolithic, especially Varna culture (allowing for a considerable time lag). In both instances high quality long blades were produced (truly “hi-tech” for it’s time), used for status and prestige mainly and traded over a wide area. Here’s a relevant article:

  2. Pingback: Cortaillod Axe sleve from the Palafittes of Lake Neuchatel | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *