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Neolithics of Pfyn

written by Rene K. Mueller, Copyright (c) 2007, last updated Mon, December 3, 2007

21st Century Tools

The group had follow 21st century support:

  • Chemical WC (yet no toilette paper, they used leafs and moss)
  • Cellphone for emergency cases
  • Emergency light
  • Hygiene utilities for female menstruation (e.g. tampoo and slips)
  • Condomes (likely for pregnancy prevention)


The clips cover little details or technical view on certain handicraft, not even much information about the group dynamic - yet, they provide an overall atmospheric of living like this, the rather slow pace of the life is well captured. The series avoids sensationalism which otherwise seems common on TV these days, which is exceptional. Swiss TV (SF1 and SF2) have had a good reputation the last years, yet lost some of it due trying to immitate some of the more embarrasing TV shows from US and Europe, but with "Pfahlbauer von Pfyn" they found a good way to illustrate life in stone age even, well done.

The swiss press mocked the series being boring and slow - it is incredible how alienated people have become in order to tune into another sense of time and beingness thereby, and closeness to nature again. In a way I think it would be good for people to travel, see other cultures, and maybe now and then live for a month like this - just to remind themselves what luxury truly is, and it might not what seems first obvious, but a more subtle and deeper one, e.g. having time.

The german TV channel SWR: Steinzeit did a special with an alike theme, in April 2007, where one of the scientific consultant of this project was also involved.


As said, the slow pace of life, also the focus almost fulltime to gather and prepare food is revealing. These days we look at the refrigerator, and see what we need and go to a shop where we can pick all the processed and sterilized food, which can be stored at home for a couple of days (fruits, vegetables, processed food) to multiple years (like canned food), it's pure luxury in the sense we can pick, choose, everything almost is available when we need or want it.

Living close to nature, like in this case, shows one has to think long term, beyond a couple of days or weeks, one must think in terms of seasons, and years. Sow and harvest - to plant and take care of something longer than just a moment, but stretching over seasons is aligning oneself to nature and her rhythm, her drumming. I think it's revealing so many people liked it, even the series doesn't come with all the sensationalism and exploitation of people, but just show how things are - slow, and weather conditions becomes important, very important. And when it rains, all sit in the house and only leave when not avoidable.

In a longer experiment it would show how precious and orchestrated a group dynamic would become, the group in this case had no particular leader or chief, but each one had skills where he or she was leading, which is a very mature behaviour. The two young man had their adventure, and a bit more action to capture for the TV crew - I think it's well chosen the young men went for their trip, and it showed how calm otherwise the remaining two families operated - when they returned the kids started to enjoy and value their presence again, more laughing and more activity arose.

The question arises for me, whether the luxury we created for ourselves has a price we rarely recognize we have to pay, the price of disvalue of simple things, the inablity to align, relate and connect nature in a much deeper sense, which our ancestors had to have in order to survive - but maybe it was never to be a threat in order to survive, it was the rhythm, the drumming of nature, something maybe meant to dance with.

René K. Müller
August 2007



  • ExperimentA , society for experimental archeology
  • EXARC , European Exchange on Archeological Research and Communication

(End of Article)

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