Safnern is situated on the Biel/Bienne-Orpund-Solothurn transport axis on the southern slope of the Büttenberg. Most of the village lies on the accumulation plane of the Aare and the Zihl, with some parts located on the sandstone hill of the Büttenberg. The origin of this accumulation is the sea, which covered the area from the south-west around 25 million years ago. After that, the sea gradually withdrew and the climate grew colder. As a result of the Ice Age, the Rhône glacier covered the entire area and left many boulders behind. The site of Safnern was inhabited in pre-Roman times. Burial sites from the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age have been found on the Büttenberg and the Muntel (an elevation above the Orpund burial ground). Traces of the Romans can also be found. Safnern was first verifiably documented in 1251, specifically in relation to an award to the Abbey of Bellelay.
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