Prehistoric mining for raw materials used in the production of chipped stone tools is attested for present-day Vienna (Austria), however, our knowledge was for decades confined to the well-known site of Vienna-Mauer. Based on the geological situation in the southwest of Vienna, is was reasonable to assume that more extraction sites must have existed. This assumption was confirmed recently, when targeted geo-archaeological surveys identified over 20 so far unknown sites related to mining and processing of radiolarite, a siliceous rock preferably used for stone tools from the Palaeolithic to post-Neolithic times.
Primary goal of the current project is the summarising presentation of all identified geological outcrops and archaeological extraction sites of radiolarite and chert in the vicinity of Vienna, which can rightfully be defined as a prehistoric “mining landscape”. The focus of regular mining and quarrying can be attested for the Neolithic period, however, the use of the sought raw materials from this area continued also in later periods. Its spatial extent demonstrates the significance of this mining area, placing it amongst the largest known examples such as Krumlovský Les in South Moravia or the Bakony Mountains in western Hungary.
In order to highlight this significance, we plan to establish the term “Vienna Klippen Zone radiolarite” in raw material science, as well as the designation of the quarrying cluster as “MiningLandscapeVienna” (BergbauLandschaftWien). Additionally, we will attempt to place the mining sites into the cultural-historical setting of the Neolithic and Late Neolithic.
The following methods will be employed to fulfil our research goals:
- Digital recording of all assumed and secured extraction- and quarrying sites in and around the city of Vienna;
- Targeted geo-archaeological surveys at promising geological locations;
- Microscopic and geochemical characterisation of the most characteristic raw material varieties within the “MiningLandscapeVienna” according to the Multi Layered Chert Sourcing Approach;
- Technological study of a relevant number of quarrying debris in order to achieve a chronological assessment of individual sites.
This undertaking is intended as a framework project, which will be complemented by thematically related sub-projects to reveal prehistoric lithic resource management in this under-explored region. As demonstrated by our pilot studies, this mining area holds great potential for future research on an international scale.
- O. Schmitsberger – M. Brandl – M. Penz, Neu entdeckte Radiolaritabbaue in Wien. Bedeutung und Nutzung der St. Veiter Klippenzone im Neolithikum. Archaeologia Austriaca 103, 2019, 163–174.
- O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Klippen, Bergbau, Schlagabfällle. Neu entdeckte Radiolarit-Abbaustellen im Lainzer Tiergarten in Wien mit einem ersten Überblick über die Fundstellen in der Bergbauzone Tiergarten, Fundort Wien 21/2018, 2019, 120–146.
- O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Klippen, Bergbau, Schlagabfällle – Neu entdeckte Radiolarit-Abbaustellen im Lainzer Tiergarten in Wien mit einem ersten Überblick über die Fundstellen in der „Bergbauzone Tiergarten“, Fundort Wien 21/2018, 2019, 120–146.
- O. Schmitsberger – M. Penz, Die Radiolarit-Artefaktfundstelle Hörndlwald und andere frühneolithische Siedlungsstellen im 13. Wiener Gemeindebezirk als Komponenten der Bergbau-Infrastruktur im Umfeld der St. Veiter Klippenzone, Fundberichte aus Österreich 57/2018, 2020, 485–495.
- H. Summesberger, Vom Tropenmeer zur Eiszeittundra. 250 Millionen Jahre Wiener Erdgeschichte, in: R. Berger – F. Ehrendorfer (eds.), Ökosystem Wien. Die Naturgeschichte einer Stadt, Wiener Umweltstudien 2 (Wien 2011) 58–97.