Fakultäten » Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät » Paläontologisches Institut und Museum » Dr. Heinz Furrer » Furrer

Completed research project

Title / Titel The Mammoth Site of Niederweningen, Switzerland
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung In 1890 more than 100 bones, molar teeth and tusks of at least 7 different individuals of mammoths, including a very young calf, were found in a peat horizon at the base of a gravel pit at the village of Niederweningen, 20 km northwest of Zürich. Further fragmentary fossils have been identified as remains of woolly rhino, wild horse, bison, wolf, lemming, vole, frog, and bird. In 2003 and 2004 new fossils and good sections of the peat horizon were studied in large construction pits located close to the old Niederweningen mammoth site. The highlight was a well preserved articulated mammoth skeleton from a huge male with a height of about 3.50 m. New 14C-AMS dating confirm that bones and teeth of mammoth, peat and wood found in association with mammoth, have an age of about 45 ka BP. Luminescence dating of one section provided time control with 60–70 ka for the sediments below the peat and 40 ka BP above the peat. First studies on pollen, seeds, wood and beetle allow the reconstruction of environment and climate during this time interval in the middle of the last glacial cycle (Middle Würmian). To clear the taphonomic setting of the Niederweningen mammoths, further 14C-dating and combined stable isotope analysis of skeletal remains and embedding peat material is needed.
Publications / Publikationen Coope, R. 2007: Coleoptera from the 2003 excavations of the mammoth skeleton at Niederweningen, Switzerland. Quaternary International 164–165, 130–138.

Drescher-Schneider, R., Jacquat, C., Schoch, W. 2007: Palaeobotanical investigations of the mammoth site of Niederweningen (Kanton Zürich), Switzerland. Quaternary International 164–165, 113–129.

Furrer, H. 2005: Niederweningen, die bedeutendste Mammutfundstelle der Schweiz – Neufunde und eigenes Mammutmuseum. Bulletin angewandte Geologie 10/2, 61–69.

Furrer, H. 2007: Die Mammut-Fundstelle von Niederweningen. Spots in die Vergangenheit 4, 6–7.

Furrer, H., Mäder, A. 2006: Mammutmuseum Niederweningen. Eine natur- und kulturgeschichtliche Ausstellung. Stiftung Mammutmuseum Niederweningen, 84 S.

Furrer, H., Graf, H.R., Mäder, A. 2007: The mammoth site of Niederweningen, Switzerland. Quaternary International 164–165, 85–97.

Hajdas, I., Bonani, G., Furrer, H., Mäder, A., Schoch, W. 2007: Radiocarbon chronology of the mammoth site at Niederweningen, Switzerland: Results from dating bones, teeth, wood, and peat. Quaternary International 164–165, 98–105.

Preusser, F., Degering, D. 2007: Luminescence dating of the Niederweningen mammoth site, Switzerland. Quaternary International 164–165, 106–112.

Tütken, T., Furrer, H., Vennemann, T.W. 2007: Stable isotope compositions of mammoth teeth from Niederweningen, Switzerland: Implications for the Late Pleistocene climate, environment and diet. Quaternary International 164–165, 139–150.

Keywords / Suchbegriffe Mammoth, taphonomy, palaeoclimate, oxygen isotopes, carbon isotopes, radiocarbon dating, ice age, Middle Würmian, Late Pleistocene, Switzerland
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Heinz Furrer (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Other Public Sources (e.g. Federal or Cantonal Agencies), Foundation
- Government of Canton Zürich- UBS Kulturstiftung, Zürich- Vontobel-Stiftung, Zürich
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Dr. Irka Hajdas, Institut für Teilchenphysik ETH Zürich Switzerland
Dr. Andreas Mäder, Kantonsarchäologie Zürich Switzerland
Dr. Thomas Tütken, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz Germany
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jan 2004 to Dec 2007