The research time frame of Historical Archaeology at the OeAI extends over three exceptionally varied millennia in Europe. Different cultures applied different strategies to come to terms with their environment and to make it usable by means of farming and forestry. Bioarchaeological research helps to understand these strategies and their transformations in a diachronic fashion.
The excavations in the early Mediaeval settlement in Pellendorf/Gaweinstal brought to light finds such as pit houses and pits for provisions from the 7th up to the 9th/10th centuries. Numerous contexts were sampled from an archaeozoological and archaeobotanical basis.
In addition to food refuse, in many pits complete skeletons were found, whereby it was revealed that not only dogs but above all deer were also deposited. The composition of the types of animals could provide evidence for the reasons for the deposits. In addition to the information that could be obtained from the skeletons about, for example, the health condition or the age at death of the deposited animals, they also enable the habitus to be very precisely constructed for these animals of the early Mediaeval period that are so seldom studied.
The archaeozoological material comes primarily from excavations which were carried out in 2009 and 2010 in the amphitheatre of the Canabae legionis of Carnuntum, the majority of the material originating from the thick Late Antique layers in front of the East Gate, the West Gate as well as from the filling of the basin in the arena. The Late Antique finds allow the supposition that at this time venationes (animal chases) were staged in the amphitheatre.
The already analysed animal remains from these find complexes reveal a ›unified‹ composition. They consist primarily of cattle bones, whereby both low-meat as well as meat-rich body parts are identifiable. Many of the cattle bones display traces of chopping and cutting, evidence of professional butchering with butcher's tools such as chopping knives or cleavers. The presence and ultimately feeding by dogs can be attested by numerous traces of bites. The cattle were mostly slaughtered in their adolescence or maturity, whereas in contrast there is hardly any evidence of sucking calves. The bones reveal two morphologically different types: very small cattle, comparable to an Iron Age indigenous cattle type, and very large cattle, which are represented in numerous Roman find-sites in Austria.
The remaining domestic animals are only subordinately represented, whereby a greater proportion of swine than of sheep and goat is noteworthy. Horse and donkey are attested via some remains in the material. Surprisingly, a large number of dog bones are present, yet these do not display traces of having been processed. The use of poultry is proven by the presence of chicken and goose.
Evidence for hunted animals are wild boar, deer and red deer as well as bones that could originate from a bison. In addition to small predators such as fox and perhaps wildcat, there are also bones from a brown bear and the lower arm bone of a very large predator. Although the bone is very fragmentary at both ends, nevertheless its form is consistent with a big cat. Whereas most of the animal remains were probably deposited as common refuse, the bones of the large predators could very well represent the remains from animal chases in the amphitheatre.
The French-Austrian joint project »Celtic Settlement Centres in Eastern Austria« »Celtic Settlement Centres in Eastern Austria«under the direction of S. Fichtl and P. Trebsche has set the goal of improving knowledge about the settlement structures of the region during the Latène period and, on the basis of the archaeological processing of the individual findspots, to elucidate them more closely in particular with regard to their economic foundations and their relationships to each other.
Mid-size centres such as Haselbach, as Missing Links between the known large settlements such as Němčice or Roseldorf and small village-like structures, ought to have played a considerable role in this agricultural and economic realm.
The goal of the the archaeobotanical analyses of the charred preserved plant remains, in addition to the investigation of the spectrum of crop plants cultivated, is to ascertain and to characterise the centres of activity within the settlement (for the storage and processing of grain). Of interest here are, for example, the (secondary) infillings of silo pits. Regarding the spectrum of weeds, an ecological characterisation of the fields around the La Tène period settlement should be carried out.
Pellendorf: Animal remains
Carnuntum: Animal remains