Current research work at the Hallstatt burial site


Since 1993, the Prehistoric Department of the Natural History Museum Vienna, initially under the direction of Anton Kern and currently under his successor Johann Rudorfer, has been carrying out excavations at the Hallstatt burial site. These have revealed more than 100 new graves, giving initial indications of how many bodies were originally buried at the site. By excavating the remains of pottery used as burial objects, the researchers have also been able to learn more about the close trade links between the people in prehistoric Hallstatt and all other areas of the known world at the time. 
 

Dates and facts

Prompted by the building of a canal and a penstock in 1993 and 1994, undertaken on the northern edge of the known cemetery, the Department of Prehistory of the Vienna Natural History Museum started supervision investigations on the construction site, and has since been performing systematic work in the High Valley on an annual basis. To date, more than 100 new burials had been added to the older findings. They revealed two key points: the excavations confirmed or extended the knowledge gained so far; and provided new evidence on the structure, the layout and the grave furnishings. The investigated areas reveal a particularly dense distribution.

In an area of only 150 m², 75 graves were unearthed, which would by extension correspond to a total of approximately 5000 to 6000 originally-existing graves in the High Valley as a whole. The recent excavations also finally identified the nature of the ‘ceramic vessels’, which are objects in such a poor state of preservation that they were therefore only rarely unearthed intact in the 19th century. The entire Ramsauer excavations only produced approximately 50 earthenware vessels, while the recent excavations have managed to preserve the remains of 350 pots, bowls and cups from 980 graves.
 
: Tomb N1 of the new excavations in 1993, female inhumation. (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
Tomb N1 of the new excavations in 1993, female inhumation. (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
: Documentation of the find situation with very dense burial. (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
Documentation of the find situation with very dense burial. (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
: Working photo of the excavations at the "Steinbewahrersölde" in 2007 (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
Working photo of the excavations at the "Steinbewahrersölde" in 2007 (Photo: PA NHM Vienna)
: Digital documentation of old and new finds in and around the Steinbewahrersölde (Chr. Zingerle - NHM Vienna)
Digital documentation of old and new finds in and around the Steinbewahrersölde (Chr. Zingerle - NHM Vienna)
  
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