When collectors go scouting in the fossil-rich layers ofthe Swiss Jura mountains, they are usually looking for the beautiful spirally coiled ammonites. These fossils are the remains of creatures related to octopus and squid that first appeared around 400 million years ago, spread throughout the world’s oceans, then died out at the same time as the dinosaurs approximately 65 million years ago.
Ammonites had an outer shell like a snail, but the inner part of the shell had cham- bers of the kind we can still see today in the living pearly nautilus. The shell pro- tected the soft parts of their anatomy, while air in the chambers created buoy- ancy. The septa dividing the chambers were tightly folded at the edge, presuma- bly making the shell better able to with- stand water pressure. If the external shell is no longer present or is removed from an ammonite, these folds are marked by ridges known as suture lines.
Issue Date: 26.02.2015 Designer: Photo: Christian Kitzmüller, Bülach (ZH) Printer: Gutenberg AG, Schaan, Liechtenstein Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours
1500th Anniversary of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice
A historical staging post lying in the heart of the Alps at the important intersection of the Great St Bernard Pass and the Via Francigena, the Abbey of St Maurice d’Agaune is celebrating the 1500th anniversary of its founding in the year 515. A place of spirituality and artistry which deserves to be (re)discovered!
Issue Date: 05.03.2015 Designer: Christian Stuker, Cully (VD) Printer: Cartor Security Printing S.A., La Loupe (F) Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours
2000th Anniversary of Avenches
After the armies of Julius Caesar had halted their advance at Bibracte in 58 B. C., the Helvetii were forced to settle on the central plateau again. Following the annexation of this region by the Romans, Aventicum was declared the capital of Helvetia in the year 15 B.C. Under the rule of Emperor Vespasian, the town was then raised to the status of a Roman colony around 71–72 A. D.
The Roman monuments, the remains of which largely lie buried beneath the modern town of Avenches, were erected after this date. Some remains have how- ever been unearthed and restored: the East and West Gates, the Tornallaz tower (one of the 70 towers along the Roman city wall), the forum’s thermal baths, the theatre, the Cigognier temple, the Grange-des-Dîmes temple and the amphi- theatre. Avenches experienced its heyday in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A. D., when the town had over 20,000 inhabitants. It never quite managed to recover from the incursions of the Alemanni during the years 275–277.
Avenches was the seat of a bishopric until the 6th century. The pop- ulation living at the foot of the hill was protected by a fortress built on top of the ruins of the amphitheatre. Avenches came under Bernese domination from 1536, then in 1798 it became part of thecanton of Fribourg, and finally in 1802 it was assigned to the canton of Vaud. Thanks to its summer festivals, the his- torical town centre, its lakeside location and picturesque setting, Avenches is still a well known attractive tourist destina- tion. The Swiss National Stud Farm and National Riding Institute (IENA) are also a draw for many equestrian fans.
Martial Meystre Director Avenches Tourism
Issue Date: 26.02.2015 Designer: Martine Dietrich, Berne Illustrator: Photo: Marc-André Guex, Lausanne Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colour