History of human settlement

Since 1991 with the discovery of the legendary iceman, “Ötzi,” the transregional importance in terms of its cultural-historical value has become increasingly evident. Recent archeological investigations at Beilstein near Obergurgl have proven the arrival of humans right after the last ice age more than 9,500 years ago.

History of human settlement – a short chronology For many years, the inner alpine region had been lacking evidence of ancient human settlement and hence was considered as uninhabited. Only since the discovery of Ötzi has archeological research taken off.  Since then, multiple prehistoric discoveries were made in the Ötz valley.

From the findings, we know now that humans arrived at the end of the last ice age in the inner Ötz valley coming from the South. To better understand the history of human settlement in the inner Ötz valley, a list of scientifically proven data is given below.

20000 B.C.
Peak of the last ice age
8000 B.C.
End of the last ice age, rapid melt down of enormous glaciers
7500 B.C.
Settlements established around Obergurgl/Beilstein and close to Vent „Hohler Stein,” site of a summer camp of hunters
5000 B.C.
Rise of agricultural practices in the Alpine region
4500 B.C.
Verified human activity at the marsh on Mount Rofen (2.760 m)
4300 B.C.
Proof of slash-and-burn agriculture and pasture farming on the Gurgler alpine pasture/Obergurgl (deduced from the study of pollen)
4000 B.C.
Settlements around Vent/Gurgl originating in the South
3600 B.C.
Ötzi dies on the Tisenjoch
2000 B.C.
More settlers arriving and more intense farming in the valleys
800 B.C.
Reduced use of high elevation pastures due to climate
500 B.C.
Diffused settlement of Raetic groups
200 A.D.
Roman times
600 A.D.
Intrusion of Germanic tribes
1200 A.D.
Forest clearance for settlement
1400 A.D.
Human settlement in the various valleys has been established