For over 100 years now, researchers from the Department of Prehistory have been carrying out research at the Hallstatt archaeological site in Upper Austria in cooperation with the salt producer Salinen Austria AG and the Salzwelten salt museum. In the archaeological world, this site in the Dachstein Mountains is famous above all for finds from a burial ground of the Early Iron Age, which made Hallstatt eponymous for an era throughout Europe. In addition to the burial ground with its exceptionally rich grave goods, the finds from the prehistoric mines are now also known worldwide, which, thanks to the preservation conditions in the Salzberg, cover an exceptionally wide range

NHM Site Office

Alte Schmiede


4830 Hallstatt

Open during the excavation season
(July to September) from 8:30 to 18:30

The research of the Prehistoric Department is currently focused on the economic system in the surrounding area in addition to the investigation of the burial ground and the mining facilities.

The Hallstatt Research Department has its own Website and also provides information on the latest news in two weblogs: The Stiegen-Blog provides an insight into the work surrounding the relocation of the over 3,000-year-old wooden staircase from the Hallstatt salt mine. The blog „Wood for Salt“ provides information about the Sparkling Science project of the same name, in which schools from the Hallstatt area participated.






In 1960, the Prehistoric Department began investigating the archaeological mining sites. For almost 4 decades, the former director of the department and pioneer of Austrian mining archaeology Fritz Ekart Barth worked in the depths of the salt mountain and thus created the basis for today's mining research. So far, mainly traces of Hallstatt and Bronze Age mining have been recorded, giving us an extraordinary insight into the life and work of prehistoric people.
Under the direction of Dr. Hans Reschreiter, the organization and mining techniques that can be found underground are being investigated. Due to the unique environmental conditions, organic materials in the Hallstatt salt mines have survived time almost undamaged. Therefore, there are numerous remains of tools and equipment but also sophisticated technical aids that allow a detailed reconstruction of the work processes in prehistoric mining.
The excavation of the tunnels, which were closed again by the mountain pressure, also provides unique remains of food and clothing of the people of the Bronze and Hallstatt periods. Many institutions from a wide range of disciplines throughout Europe are participating in the research of the Hallstatt salt mine, which allows the use of a wide range of different analyses and methods.

Individual projects

  • Project "Wood for Salt": The most important resource for prehistoric mining in Hallstatt is wood. The supply of this raw material is to be researched as part of a Sparkling Science project.