Urnfield Culture Networks (UCN)

Urnfield Material Culture: Rituals and Networks in Europe

UCN is a broad-based competence centre of researchers from/of different regions, integrated in a common network. UCN connects existing, large projects conducted over several years with current research questions regarding the period from 1300 to 800 BC (Urnfield Culture, Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age). The network involves archaeologists from central and southeast Europe and covers a wide range of topics, including material culture, burial and ritual. It is therefore an ideal research base for (young) researchers from Austria and abroad.

Research programme

Topics such as burial, religion and ritual, as well as socio-economic phenomena are approached supra-regionally. The cultural development, potential connections as well as religious, economic and social characteristics are explored through various regional studies in Western Balkans, Northern Greece and Central Europe, paying special attention to the integration of young researchers and local specialists in a common network. In addition to the use of existing data sets covering the entire period between the 13th and 8th century BC (Thunau am Kamp, Stillfried an der March, Franzhausen-Kokoron, Inzersdorf ob der Traisen), the integration of newly excavated sites is of central importance (e.g. Plaika/ Lower Austria and Dolina/Croatia). Publications, international workshops held regularly (UC dialogues) as well as conferences organised by the UCN (with an emphasis on south-east Europe) complete the research programme. In cooperation with the research group Digital Archaeology and the Academy Center for Digital Humanities (ACDH), various new digital initiatives (CBAB – Cremation Bronze Age Burials, OREA_DOKU_Platform Thunau am Kamp) have been implemented since 2017.


OREA is one of the few European institutions committed to long-term research on the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (Urnfield Culture). It is a well established research centre for the period between 1300 and 800 BC in the scientific landscape of Europe. The institute and UCN is responsible for the analysis and publication of important Austrian sites, excavated by the University of Vienna (Institute of Prehistory and Early History) and the Federal Monuments Office (BDA) in several long-term campaigns, which constitute an essential source for the cultural and intellectual foundations of Europe. Since 2014 with the foundation of the OREA Institute, the former focus of Prehistoric Commission on central Europe has been expanded to encompass projects geographically situated in south-eastern Europe and Greece. The long-term research project ‘Urnfield Culture Networks’ (UCN) connects existing, large projects to projects conducted over several years with current research questions. The aim is to establish a sustainable, international research centre for the Late Bronze Age of central and south-eastern Europa at the OREA institute, to facilitate medium- and long-term research and to systematically support young talent.

UC-Dialogues (“UK-Gespräche”)

The UC dialogues are a discussion forum for research on the Late Bronze Age/Urnfield Culture (1300–800 BC) in Europe. Held twice a year, the UC dialogues include an international outlook. The concept combines a one-day thematic workshop with a corresponding public evening lecture.



Kooperationspartner der aufgelisteten Projekte

  • Anthropological, Zoological and Prehistoric Department of the Natural History Museum in Vienna
  • Vienna Institute of Archaeological Science
  • Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research/University of Vienna
  • VIRIS Laboratory/University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
  • Institute of Archaeometry/Technical University Vienna
  • Federal Province of Lower Austria
  • Department of Archaeology/Austrian Federal Monuments Office (BDA)
  • Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland
  • Curt-Engelhorn-Centre Archaeometry, Mannheim, Germany
  • University of Durham, UK
  • Institute of Archaeology, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Regional Museums Travnik and Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Sofija Stefanovic, University of Belgrade
  • Zsuzsanna Siklósi, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  • Viktória Kiss, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Klára Šabatová, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • Jo Appleby, University of Leicester
  • Marie Louise Stig Sørensen, University of Cambridge
  • Museum Brodskog Posavlja, Slavonski Brod, Croatia
  • Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering in Zagreb, Croatia
  • National Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina
  • Museum of Semberija, Bijeljina, Bosnia-Hercegovina
  • Regional Museum in Zenica, Bosnia-Hercegovina
  • Museum of Krajina, Negotin, Serbia
  • Museum of Mining and Metallurgy in Bor, Serbia





  • Michaela Lochner / FWF-Projekt: „Ressourcensicherung, Macht und Kult in Stillfried?“
    Die Schätze der Wirtschaftsriesen der Bronzezeit, Der Standard 15.3.2017
  • Katharina Rebay-Salisbury / ERC Starting-Grant 2015 „Der soziale Status von Mutterschaft im bronzezeitlichen Europas“
    Wie Frauen in der Bronze- und Eisenzeit lebten, Der Standard 1.4.2016
  • M. Gavranovic und M. Mehofer / TV-Sendung über archaeometallurgische Untersuchungen in Bosnien -> Video
  • Mario Gavranović / TV-Sendung über die Ausgrabung Dolina, Kroatien (Projekt „Burial“) -> Video