The finds from the salt mines of Dürrnberg/Austria and Chehrabad/Iran

Prehistoric leather and fur technologies from the Iron Age salt mines of Dürrnberg in Austria and Chehrabad in Iran are the topic of this dissertation. New insights in prehistoric craft techniques will be obtained through detailed studies of the production processes of this rare find category. Analyses of the specific use of hides and furs will shed light on the state of knowledge of raw material processing and understanding material properties, and illustrate the resource management of prehistoric mining operations. A comparison of the material to similar finds from the nearby Iron Age salt mines of Hallstatt will follow, as well as the first scientific treatment of leather and fur finds from the Iron Age salt mines of Chehrabad.

A systematic comparison with leather and fur from other archaeological sites will reveal similarities and differences of production and use of leather and fur objects against the background of Iron Age mining.

Aspects of this work are expected to contribute to economic archaeology and help in the reconstruction of the prehistoric salt mining centre at Dürrnberg and its environment. The study of people and their working conditions, on the other hand, will significantly support studies at the prehistoric salt mines of Chehrabad, which have only recently become focus of archaeological attention.

Principal Investigator



  • Otto H. Urban (Universität Wien)
  • Peter C. Ramsl
  • Thomas Stöllner (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)