The Eastern Alps Revisited

Continuity and Change from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

 The project focused on the transformation of the late antique province of Noricum Mediterraneum into an area inhabited by a Slavic-speaking population that eventually became part of Bavaria. This period (ca. 500 to 900) is marked by profound changes in the structures of the region.

As historical and archaeological sources for this time and place are scanty, a close collaboration between archaeologists and historians was required. New methods were tested and developed.

Research Questions

  • Transformation: The fate of the Roman province Noricum in the 6th century. Structures of power: The destruction and formation of elites from the 6th to the early 10th century, rise and fall of centers of power. 
  • Appropriation and organization of space: Rulers and elites and their thrive to appropriate, organize and consolidate their influence spheres.
  • Belief: Development of Christian power structures, mission, heresy, syncretism and paganism.
  • Identity and ethnic labeling.
  • Economy and communication: Developments and changes in trade, traffic routes and agricultural systems.

Archaeological and historical sources were collected systematically and when necessary re-evaluated. For the analysis of these sources we used information technologies, especially GIS. The sources were stored in a database and are prepared for investigation by GIS-Tools. An interactive publication and visualization of these sources on the Internet present the findings to a wider audience. (See follow-up project Digitising Patterns of Power []) In order to put the region in context, interdisciplinary workshops were realised with colleagues from Slovenia, Northern Italy, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany.


  • Final Workshop Ostalpenraum Revisited
    Wednesday, November 26th 2014, Seminar room of the Institute for Medieval research.
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  • Round Table II: Appropriation of Space at the borders of the Frankish Empire  Thursday, October 10th 2013, Seminar room of the Institute for Medieval research.
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  • Round Table I: Settlement, Ritual Site, Battlefield?  Hilltop-settlements with unstratified finds of early medieval military objects
    Thursday, March 7th 2014, Wildon/Stmk
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Institute for Medieval Research

Project Leader:
Maximilian Diesenberger

Katharina Winckler

Yuri Marano

Project Number: P24045

Duration: 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2014, extended to 01.08.2016.

Fields of research:

  • Medieval History (40,00%)
  • Archaeology (40,00%)
  • Humanities interdisciplinary (10,00%)
  • Late Antiquity (10,00%)