Prehistoric mining was established in early times to ensure the supply with lithic raw materials. So far, in Vienna only the radiolarite ›mine‹ at the Antonshöhe in Mauer was known. Since 2017, extensive research is undertaken within the St. Veit Klippen Zone. The results revealed a mining landscape of international significance.

Prehistoric mining for raw materials used in the production of chipped stone tools is attested for present-day Vienna (Austria), however, our knowledge was for decades confined to the well-known site of Vienna-Mauer. Based on the geological situation in the southwest of Vienna, it was reasonable to assume that more extraction sites must have existed. This assumption was confirmed recently, when targeted geo-archaeological surveys identified approximately 30 so far unknown sites related to mining and processing of radiolarite, a siliceous rock preferably used for stone tools from the Palaeolithic to post-Neolithic times.

Primary goal of the current project is the summarising presentation of all identified geological outcrops and archaeological extraction sites of radiolarite and chert in the vicinity of Vienna, which can rightfully be defined as a prehistoric »mining landscape«. The focus of regular mining and quarrying can be attested for the Neolithic period, however, the use of the sought raw materials from this area continued also in later periods. Its spatial extent demonstrates the significance of this mining area, placing it amongst the largest known examples such as Krumlovský Les in South Moravia or the Bakony Mountains in Western Hungary.

In order to highlight this significance, we plan to establish the term »Vienna Klippen Zone radiolarite« in raw material science, as well as the designation of the quarrying cluster as »MiningLandscapeVienna« (BergbauLandschaftWien). Additionally, we will attempt to place the mining sites into the cultural-historical setting of the Neolithic and Copper Age.

Methods

The following methods will be employed to fulfil our research goals:

  • Digital recording of all assumed and secured extraction- and quarrying sites in and around the city of Vienna;
  • Targeted geo-archaeological surveys at promising geological locations;
  • Microscopic and geochemical characterisation of the most characteristic raw material varieties within the »MiningLandscapeVienna« according to the Multi Layered Chert Sourcing Approach;
  • Technological study of a relevant number of quarrying debris in order to achieve a chronological assessment of individual sites.

This undertaking is intended as a framework project, which will be complemented by thematically related sub-projects to reveal prehistoric lithic resource management in this under-explored region. As demonstrated by our pilot studies, this mining area holds great potential for future research on an international scale.

Publications

Publikationen

  • M. Brandl – O. Schmitsberger – G. Trnka, News from the Eastern Fringe. The Baunzen Site near Vienna (Austria), in: D. H. Werra – M. Woźny (eds.), Between History and Archaeology. Papers in honor of Jacek Lech (Oxford 2018) 59–68.
  • M. Penz – O. Schmitsberger, Eine neu entdeckte (neolithische?) Hornsteinhalde im Lainzer Tiergarten/Inzersdorfer Wald in Wien. Fundort Wien 19, 2016, 144–147.
  • O. Schmitsberger – M. Brandl – M. Penz, Neu entdeckte Radiolaritabbaue in Wien. Bedeutung und Nutzung der St. Veiter Klippenzone im Neolithikum. Archaeologia Austriaca 103, 2019, 163–174.
  • O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Zwei weitere neu entdeckte prähistorische Radiolarit-Abbaustellen bzw. Schlagabfallhalden im Lainzer Tiergarten in Wien. Fundort Wien 20, 2017, 152–161.
  • O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Klippen, Bergbau, Schlagabfällle. Neu entdeckte Radiolarit-Abbaustellen im Lainzer Tiergarten in Wien mit einem ersten Überblick über die Fundstellen in der Bergbauzone Tiergarten, Fundort Wien 21/2018, 2019, 120–146.
  • O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Hornstein, Halden, Hammersteine. Vierter Vorbericht zur Prospektion im Lainzer Tiergarten im Rahmen des Projekts „BergbauLandschaftWien“, Fundort Wien 22, 2019, 246–272.
  • O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Die Radiolarit-Artefaktfundstelle »Hörndlwald« und andere frühneolithische Siedlungsstellen im 13. Wiener Gemeindebezirk als Komponenten der ›Bergbau-Infrastruktur‹ im Umfeld der St. Veiter Klippenzone, Fundberichte aus Österreich 57/2018, 2020, 485–495.
  • O. Schmitsberger, BergbauLandschaftWien. Ein Prospektionsprojekt zum prähistorischen Hornsteinabbau in Wien 2017 und 2018 (Bericht Teil B – Gesamtdarstellung der Maßnahme 01502.17.01. und 01502.18.01.), Fundberichte aus Österreich 57/2018, 2020, D7847–D7863.