Category Archives: AUSTRIA

2000-Year-Old Children’s Shoe Unearthed in Austrian Iron Age Site

2000-Year-Old Children’s Shoe Unearthed in Austrian Iron Age Site

An “extremely well-preserved” Iron Age Children’s Shoe was discovered in Austria during excavations at Dürrnberg, near the historic town of Hallein.

Since 2001, the German Mining Museum Bochum, Leibniz Research Museum for Georesources, has been conducting mining archeological investigations with its mining archeology research area on the Dürrnberg near Hallein.

The Dürrnberg near Salzburg is known for its rock salt mining, which already occurred in the Iron Age.

Due to the preservation effect of the salt, organic remains are particularly well preserved, in contrast to other excavations, where such finds are in short supply. During this year’s campaign in the Georgenberg tunnel, a children’s shoe made of leather came to light.

An exceptionally well-preserved child’s shoe was found in the Dürrnberg salt mine.

The shoe is made of leather and roughly corresponds to today’s shoe size 30 (12.5-inch). The shape, as well as the lace-up closures, which were likely made of flax or linen, are still intact. The shoe’s design provides additional indications of its manufacture, which was most likely in the second century B.C.

“For decades now, our research activities on the Dürrnberg have repeatedly provided us with valuable finds in order to develop the earliest mining activities scientifically.

The condition of the shoe that was found is outstanding,” says the head of the research area, Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllne. “Organic materials usually decompose over time.

Finds such as this children’s shoe, but also textile remains or excrement, such as those found on the Dürrnberg, offer an extremely rare insight into the life of the Iron Age miners.”

Several finds of leather shoes are already known from the Dürrnberg, but a child’s shoe is always something special, as it proves the presence of children underground.

In addition, in this case, as an exception, a remnant of a lacing made of flax or linen has been preserved. In this way, conclusions can be drawn as to how the shoes were laced.

In the vicinity of the well-kept find, archaeologists also found other organic materials, namely a fragment of a wooden shovel in the shape of a blade and the remains of fur with lacing that possibly belonged to a fur hood.

The research work on prehistoric salt production at Dürrnberg near Hallein in Austria is part of a long-term research project.

The work is funded by Salinen Austria AG and Salinen Tourismus and is carried out in cooperation with the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at Ruhr University in Bochum.

Archaeological El Dorado: Stunning Golden Sun Bowl Found in Austria

Archaeological El Dorado: Stunning Golden Sun Bowl Found in Austria

“A discovery of a lifetime” is what archaeologist Dr. Michal Sip termed the find: a golden sun bowl dated to 3,000 years ago, unearthed during ongoing excavations in a prehistoric settlement in Ebreichsdorf, Austria.

Work at this ancient settlement dated to 1300-1000 BC, has been in full flow since September 2019. Researchers at the site are focused on the “urn field culture” found here, a reference to their funeral rites and ceremonial cremation, reports Heritage Daily . 

The Golden Bowl with the Sun Motif

This latest find is that of a golden bowl, decorated with a beautiful motif that depicts the rays of the sun. The bowl is 20cm (7.8”) in diameter and 5cm (2”) high, and made of a very thin sheet metal consisting of 90% gold, 5% silver, and 5% copper.

Inside there is coiled golden wire wrapped around organic material clumps, originally fabric sewn with gold thread. This is possibly the remnants of decorative scarves attached to the bowl, used during the sun worship ceremonies and rituals.

The sun rays on the bowl interior, and the wire found in the bowl

Archaeologist Dr. Michal Sip, from Novetus, termed it a kind of “archaeological Eldorado” and considered it one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Austria.

A first of its kind discovery in this region, only 30 such bowls have been scattered across the entirety of the vast European continent. “This is the first find of this type in Austria, and the second to the east of the Alpine line,” said the archaeologist. 

He added that single vessels of this kind have been found in France, Switzerland and Spain, but the production probably occurred in northern Germany, Scandinavia, and Denmark, reports PAP.

The “golden” finds, particularly the golden bowl, indicate extensive trade relations between western and northern Europe.

A Routine Excavation

The excavation was routine, and the discoveries purely accidental. At this site, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Vienna, the Austrian Federal Railways (the OBB) plans to build a railway station.

These plans required an archaeological survey before they could be approved, prompting archaeologists to check what was underground.

Franz Bauer, CEO of ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, stated that archaeological excavation work as part of “such a major project” is also required as part of the environmental impact assessment. “Building new things and preserving the old is one of our premises when implementing construction projects.”

Apart from the golden bowl, in the 70 hectares (173 acres) excavated, 5,000 finds have been listed in total, including hundreds of items made of bronze items, and many dozens made of gold. This includes the remains of residential, work, and storage buildings.

These finds have sparked debate amongst historians, who are now asking probing questions into the living conditions and life of the late Bronze Age .

“We now have a very clear picture of this prehistoric settlement from 3,000 years ago. We were able to reconstruct where the economic area was and where the residential area was,” Dr. Sip told

The southern boundary had a dry riverbed, 25 meters (82 feet) wide, which was either a swamp or a seasonal, flowing waterbody. This entire stretch has revealed pins, daggers, knives, all of which were in great condition. This indicates that it was definitely not a refuse pit.

Weapon blades found at the site

Hundreds of kilos of animal bones, clay vessels, and ceramic shells have also been found in this area of the site. This has led Dr. Sip and his colleagues to speculate that this swamp was likely part of the larger religious ceremony involving the sun.

The Bronze Age “Urn Field Culture”

The “urn field culture” community led a sedentary lifestyle, and were proficient in animal domestication and breeding, particularly that of sheep. Echoes of this culture survive in contemporary Poland with the Lusatian culture, centered around their famous settlement at Biskupin, in northern Poland.