Archaeobotanical study of a La Tène period settlement center in Haselbach

The French-Austrian research project »Celtic settlement centers in eastern Austria« has been excavating the La Tène period settlement by Haselbach (district Korneuburg, Lower Austria) since 2015 and has also been gathering extensive samples for archaeobotanical analyses. The charred plant remains will aid in gaining information about the agricultural basis of this medium-sized center.

The objective of the joint French-Austrian project »Celtic settlement centers in eastern Austria« under the direction of S. Fichtl and P. Trebsche is to increase our knowledge about the La Tène period settlement structures in the region and based on the archaeological study of the individual find sites to look more closely at their economic foundations and their relationships to each other. 

Agriculturally favorable area

The dry and hot summers combined with the extensive black soil above a thick loess layer of the Weinviertel offer excellent agricultural starting conditions. Since the arrival of the first linear pottery settler this landscape has been intensively cultivated as has been documented by extensive archaeological research.

Settlement archaeology of La Tène period lowland settlement 

On the basis of archaeological excavations, more so thanks to extensive geophysical prospections, the level of knowledge about the settlement structures in eastern Austria during the La Tène period has been considerably improved. An aspect worth highlighting is that medium sized centers like that in Haselbach played an especial role in this landscape and economic area and are a missing link between the well-known large settlements such as Němčice or Roseldorf and the smaller village structures.

Agricultural production centers?

The archaeobotanical analyses of the charred plant remains are not only focused on the study of the cultivated plant spectrum but also aim at identifying activity centers within the settlement (for storing and processing grain) and to characterize them. The (secondary) filling of silo pits for example is of interest here. Through a spectrum of weeds an ecological characterization of the fields around the La Tène period settlement will be conducted. The extensive archaeobotanical find material from the excavations in 2015 has already been studied at the VIAS, the analyses are now being continued at the OeAI.