Stone tools made of SiO2 raw materials (silex) represent one of the most important types of finds in Neolithic find-spots. One of the most essential questions concerns the characterisation (›fingerprinting‹) of such stone raw materials in order to be able to differentiate them unequivocally from other, often very similar materials. Determinations of origin constitute the foundation for the investigation of prehistoric management of resources, which includes the procurement, employment and distribution of lithic materials.



The raw material project at the OeAW is based on the by now internationally known method of »Multi-Layered-Chert-Sourcing-Approach« (MLA). This analytical approach combines macroscopic, microscopic, petrological-geochemical and statistical analytics for the determination of origin of silex artefacts in archaeological contexts. Numerous international projects have demonstrated the potential of MLA, and have thereby contributed to the continual adjustment of this method and to refining the analytic components.

Principal investigator


  • Christoph Hauzenberger (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Institut für Erdwissenschaften, Bereich Mineralogie und Petrologie)
  • Peter Filzmoser (Technische Universität Wien, Institut für Stochastik und Wirtschaftsmathematik)
  • Gerhard Trnka (Universität Wien, Institut für Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie)


since 2005