The Interreg project »PalaeoDiversiStyria« is aiming to improve our knowledge about the development of the settlement and agricultural area of eastern Slovenia and southern Styria from prehistory to the Middle Ages and to support the cultivation and marketing of ›traditional‹ crops as part of the regional development. Archaeobotanical research will serve as the information basis.
With its subillyrian climate the region of eastern Slovenia and southern Styria mediates between the sub-continental Pannonian basin, the extreme conditions of the Alpine region, and the submediterranean climate: Warm summers and many hours of sun together with high precipitation create an exceptionally favorable settlement area for agriculture.
In accordance with this starting point the oldest Neolithic (and thus agriculturally influenced) find sites of Styria are located in the hills of eastern Styria. Despite the high density of archaeological prospection and numerous well-documented excavations in Styria, archaeobotanical investigations are still rare, the information basis for many, in particular prehistoric periods, remains sparse.
Preparation of the data
The project part of the Interreg-SI-AT »PaleoDiversiStyria« located at the OeAI has the primary task of increasing the data basis and improving the general level of knowledge on the agricultural history of Styria. In total, 27 find sites from the Chalcolithic to the Middle Ages will be studied and aid in writing a cultural history of the agriculture of Styria.
On the basis of this data and in addition to reporting, the Department for Bioarchaeology of the OeAI will provide numerous texts, cultivation plans, and basics for other project parts that are engaged with the revitalization of the region for tourism and sustainable agriculture. The cultivation of old plants needs to be encouraged and their farming traditions need to be prioritized as part of the local identity.