HEAS Annual Keynote Lecture

On June 28th 2024, Prof. Eszter Bánffy, president of the European Association of Archaeologists, will give the Annual HEAS Keynote Lecture on 'New strategies and coping practices of early farmers taking the Danubian route (6000-5350 cal BC)'.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences) and organises the Archaeological Sciences events in collaboration with the other HEAS partners.

Register for participation in the event here.

FWF würdigt erfolgreiche Frauen und ihre Leistungen in der Wissenschaft

VIAS-Mitarbeiterin und ESPRIT-Stipendiatin Michaela Schauer BA MA ACIfA erhielt die Urkunde für ihr Esprit-Projekt „Standardisierung der portablen Röntgenfluoreszenz für die Archäometrie“ im Rahmen einer feierlichen Zeremonie, die vom FWF organisiert wurde. Die Veranstaltung feierte erfolgreiche Frauen in der Wissenschaft, bot Gelegenheit zum Netwerken und hob Frauen und ihre Leistungen als herausragende Wissenschaftlerinnen hervor.

HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar Vortrag by Dr. Dennis Wilken

On March 18th 2024, Dr. Dennis Wilken from Christian-Albrechts University Kiel gave a presentation on 'Ships, harbours and waterways – Geophysical prospection in shallow waters and tidal flats' as part of the HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar Series.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences) and organises the Archaeological Sciences seminar series in collaboration with the other HEAS partners.

Click here to see the recorded lecture online.



VIAS staff member Günther Karl Kunst’s latest publication featured in Science ORF

VIAS staff member Günther Karl Kunst’s had his publication on ‘The 10,000-year biocultural history of fallow deer and its implications for conservation policy’ featured on Science ORF, the national public broadcaster for Austria./p>

Lecture at Prehistoric Kolloquium Cologne by Magdalena Blanz

On 21st December 2023, VIAS researcher Magdalena Blanz will be giving an invited talk at the Prehistoric Kolloqiuum of the University of Cologne, with the title “Of seaweed-eating sheep and fish-eating dogs: Neolithic animal husbandry studied by means of stable isotope ratios”. Participation is possible in person and online:

PLOS ONE publication on animal husbandry at early Neolithic Alsónyék (Hungary)

Magdalena Blanz has recently co-authored an article on early Neolithic husbandry at Alsónyék in Hungary: “Early Neolithic pastoral land use at Alsónyék-Bátaszék, Hungary (Starčevo culture): New insights from stable isotope ratios” in PLOS ONE (available here).

The article investigates early animal management and land use strategies at the Starčevo settlement, through stable isotope ratio analysis of bone collagen and tooth enamel from wild and domestic animals, revealing diverse dietary strategies and seasonal herding practices.

WIRED Magazine Article

In the December 2024 issue of the renowned technology magazine WIRED (published online on Sept. 28 2023), VIAS scientist Immo Trinks and his colleague Alois Hinterleitner from GeoSphere Austria were featured as experts on ground-penetrating radar for archaeological prospection. Author Geoff Manaugh had interviewed Trinks and Hinterleitner among other international GPR specialists and presented his perspective in the article 'Scientists Have an Audacious Plan to Map the Ancient World Before It Disappears'. 

See as well Geoff Manaugh's Blog post on 'The Agency of the subsurface'. 

HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar by Prof. Stefano Campana

On November 27th 2023, Prof. Stefano Campana from the University of Siena gave a presentation on 'Emptyscapes Initiative: A Paradigm Shift in Mediterranean Landscape Archaeology' as part of the HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar Series.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences) and organises the Archaeological Sciences seminar series in collaboration with the other HEAS partners.

Click here to see the recorded lecture online.


Annual HEAS Keynote Lecture by Prof. Johan Rönnby

On November 24th 2023, Prof. Johan Rönnby from Södertörn University Stockholm gave a fascinating presentation on 'Deep Water Archeology. The investigation and interpretation of uniquely preserved shipwrecks in the Baltic and the Black Sea' as the Annual HEAS Keynote Lecture.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences).

Click here to see the recorded lecture online.


Dr. Mathias Mehofer awarded with a EU-H2020-IPERION grant

VIAS staff Member Mathias Mehofer has been awarded a standalone EU-H2020-IPERION project titled “Hallmetals-Archaeometallurgical analyses on metals from the famous Iron Age cemetery of Hallstatt, Austria.  

The discovery of the famous cemetery of Hallstatt, Austria, with its rich and spectacular grave goods, gave its name to an entire prehistoric culture – the Hallstatt culture (ca. 8th to 4th century BC). These metal objects, which are nowadays housed in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHM), represent a remarkable and, to date unexplored, (archaeometallurgical) pool to examine the wide-ranging exchange connections of the prehistoric salt miners. As a first step, a set of 130 gold and copper based metal objects covering the time span of the 8th to the 4th century BC, will be examined for their chemical composition and metal provenance. For the first time, the generated archaeometallurgical database will allow for in-depth analyses of Iron Age metal exchange to the region over vast distances.


Project partners:

Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Karina Grömer, Mag. Dr. Georg Tiefengraber, Mag. Daniel Oberndorfer, Conservator-Restorer, Prehistory, Natural History Museum Vienna

Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka, CEZA Mannheim, Germany


HEAS Seed grant awarded to Dr Magdalena Blanz and colleagues

Magdalena Blanz, Günther Grabner, Karin Wiltschke-Schrotta, and Alexandra Krenn-Leeb received a HEAS seed grant for their research project “Diet and Subsistence in the Lower Austrian Early Bronze Age – A bioarchaeological view through C and N stable isotope ratios on selected find complexes of the Wieselburg/Gáta, Unterwölbling and Únětice cultures”.

this study, they will use bone δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N stable isotope ratios to explore differences in nutrition between people of different Lower Austrian Early Bronze Age cultures. Sample preparation will be undertaken in the VIAS Bioarchaeology Laboratory for Stable Isotope Analysis.

HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar by Prof. Vincent Gaffney

On May 22nd 2023, Prof. Vincent Gaffney from the University of Bradford gave a presentation on 'Not Drowning but Waving! Doggerland and The Lost Frontiers Project' as part of the HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar Series.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences) and organises the Archaeological Sciences seminar series in collaboration with the other HEAS partners.

Click here to see the recorded lecture online.


HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar by Prof. Nicolò Dell'Unto

On May 22nd 2023, Prof. Nicolò Dell'Unto from Lund University's Digital Archaeology Lab gave a presentation on 'The use of 3D spatial technology in support of field practice' as part of the HEAS Archaeological Science Seminar Series.

VIAS is part of the research network HEAS (Human Evolution and Archaeological Sciences) and organises the Archaeological Sciences seminar series in collaboration with the other HEAS partners.

Click here to see the recorded lecture online.


Award to Dr Magdalena Blanz

On 13th December 2022, Dr Magdalena Blanz was awarded the BAG-Förderpreis 2021 by the Austrian Society for Bioarchaeology (BAG) for her PhD dissertation titled “Seaweed as food, fodder, and fertiliser: Methods of identification, impacts, and implications of past seaweed use in archaeology”. Magdalena undertook her PhD studies at the Orkney Archaeology Institute from 2016-2020, researching past seaweed consumption, and the implications that seaweed consumption by sheep holds for our understanding of the past, under supervision by Prof Ingrid Mainland (UHI Archaeology Institute), Dr Mark Taggart (UHI ERI), Dr Philippa Ascough (SUERC) and Prof Jörg Feldmann (TESLA, University of Aberdeen).

Magdalena Blanz now leads the VIAS Bioarchaeology Laboratory for Stable Isotope Analysis.

HEAS Keynote Lecture by Ernst Pernicka: The Sky Disc of Nebra: A window to the Bronze Age world in Europe and beyond

On November 25th 2022, Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka Curt-Engelhorn-Zentrum Archäometrie, Mannheim and Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, University of Tübingen, gave a fascinating HEAS Keynote Lecture on 'The Sky Disc of Nebra: A window to the Bronze Age world in Europe and beyond'.

Early in the year 2002 a sensational find was rescued from the antiques market. It consisted of several bronze objects from clandestine excavations. They were reported to derive from a hoard in central Germany including including a bronze disc of about 32 cm diameter on which the night sky is depicted with gold inlays. In addition, two swords with gold decorated hilts, two flanged axes, a chisel and two arm spirals, all made of bronze, belonged to the hoard. These accompanying finds date the hoard securely to the developed central European Early Bronze Age (phase A3) and therefore around 1600 BC. The find is so exceptional, because the “Sky Disc of Nebra” is the earliest astronomically identifiable representation of the night sky, which has considerable implications concerning archaeoastronomy, archaeometallurgy, the history of religion and archaeology. The scientific investigations centered around the question of authenticity, the provenance of the metals and their production technology. All these questions have been resolved and the results are presented.

To watch the recorded lecture online, click here.

New publication on seaweed-eating sheep at Neolithic Ness of Brodgar

Magdalena Blanz has recently co-authored an article on seaweed-eating sheep: “Life, Death and Teeth of Late Neolithic Sheep and Red Deer Excavated at Ness of Brodgar, Orkney Islands (UK)” in Environmental Archaeology (available here).

The article describes analyses of age at death combined with isotope ratios to gain an insight into past sheep husbandry, and possible management of red deer.

Dr Magdalena Blanz and Brina Zagorc receive HEAS seed grant

Brina Zagorc and Dr Magdalena Blanz received one of three biannual HEAS seed grants for their research project “Health and diet intertwined: co-analysing genetic markers with dietary stable isotopes of subadults from Roman and Early Medieval Croatia”.

With the HEAS Seed grant, they will combine δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N stable isotope ratios, human osteology, and ancient DNA to explore the health status and preferential treatment of subadults through diet, their biological sex, and kinship. Health is often influenced by diet, so studying the relationship between diet, disease, and mortality will provide additional information about the possible familial relations, funerary information, and inferred differences between status according to grave goods.

The laboratory work for this project will be performed at the VIAS Bioarchaeology Laboratory for Stable Isotope Analysis.

Spurensuche: Die Anfänge der Landwirtschaft

VIAS-Archäologin Maria Ivanova-Bieg rekonstruiert mithilfe von Isotopen-Analysen das Leben der ersten Bäuerinnen und Bauern in Europa. Die Wissenschaftlerin und ihrer Arbeit werden im Wissenschaftsmagazin der Universität Wien - Rudolphina - vorgestellt.

Link zum Artikel

Link zum Video

Monograph published by VIAS scientist Mathias Mehofer

VIAS scientist Mathias Mehofer recently published his monograph "Çukuriçi Höyük 3, Ein frühbronzezeitliches Metallhandwerkerzentrum in Westanatolien, OREA 22, Vienna 2022" on EBA metallurgy found in Western Turkey.

The site was investigated within several FWF, START and ERC grants under the direction B. Horejs. The book itself focuses on the interdisciplinary examination of the metallurgical remains from Çukuriçi Höyük (western Turkey), which date from the Late Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age (c. 3300–2700 BC). The exceptionally rich ensemble includes almost all parts of the technological chain (chaîne opératoire), from tools, casting moulds, furnaces, ores, raw metal and ingots to finished products, tin bronzes and precious metals (Au, Ag).

On the one hand, these remains were classified according to archaeological typological criteria, and on the other hand, they were analysed using various scientific methods (metallography, SEM-EDS, ED-XRF and lead isotope analysis). The arsenical copper production can be regarded as an outstanding result of the research; to date, there are only very few Bronze Age sites where evidence for this is present. The produced As-copper was fed into the East Aegean-West Anatolian networks.

Precious metal and weapons additionally demonstrate that not only everyday objects but also prestige goods were produced. The fact that some of these pieces are locally made of the new – until then unknown – material tin bronze underlines the "gateway function" of the tell on the western Turkish coast. The silver-copper alloy produced on site additionally demonstrates that the metallurgists were integrated into wide-ranging technology and communication networks of Early Bronze Age elites. The concluding holistic discussion of these results makes it possible to gain an in-depth picture of metal craftsmanship and its embedding in Early Bronze Age exchange and social systems. Further information and the Open-Access link can be found under : https://doi.org/10.1553/978OEAW87103

Publikation in Nature Communications

Am 3. Mai 2022 wurde in der Zeitschrift Nature Communications eine paläogenetische Studie über die Verbreitung der Hausratte und Zusammenhänge mit der Wirtschaftsgeschichte vom ersten zum 17. Jahrhundert in Europa veröffentlicht.

VIAS Archäozoologe Günther Karl Kunst und seine Kollegin Silvia Radbauer von der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, haben zu dieser Studie beigetragen.

Poster prize for Magdalena Blanz

At the UK Archaeological Science conference held in Aberdeen, Scotland on April 20-22 2022, Dr. Magdalena Blanz and colleagues won the Runnerup Poster Prize for early career researchers.

The poster, titled "Ratios of strontium and barium to calcium as complementary palaeodietary indicators of seaweed consumption", describes research done by Magdalena and colleagues during her doctoral studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland. This research has now been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Neuer Artikel zu spätbronzezeitlichen Netzwerken des Kuperaustauschs auf dem westlichen und zentralen Balkan in PLOS ONE

Das Team um Mario Gavranović von der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und VIAS Archäometallurg Mathias Mehofer hat am 11. März 2022 in der online Zeitschrift des Public Library of Science, PLOS ONE, seine Ergebnisse aus dem interdisziplinären Forschungsprojekt zur spätbronzezeitlichen Kupferproduktion und Netzwerken der Rohstoffbeschaffung auf dem westlichen und zentralen Balkan publiziert.

Der Artikel “Emergence of monopoly – Copper exchange networks during the Late Bronze Age in the western and central Balkans” von Mario Gavranović, Mathias Mehofer, Aleksandar Kapuran, Jovan Koledin, Jovan Mitrović, Aleksandra Papazovska, Andrijana Pravidur, Aca Đorđević und Dragan Jacanović ist mit freiem Zugang hier online verfügbar.

»Seeds, sherds and broken bones: Neue bioarchäologische Forschungen zu den Anfängen der Landwirtschaft in Südosteuropa«

Bioarchäologin Maria Ivanova-Bieg berichtet am 11. Jänner 2022 um 18:30 in einem Online Vortrag über neue bioarchäologische Forschungen zu den Anfängen der Landwirtschaft in Südosteuropa.

Das Zugangslink über ZOOM findet sich unter:

https://oeaw-ac-at.zoom.us/j/97799099965? pwd=c05NSTRCMkZMUHo4M2VRWm5oV01YZz09

Meeting ID: 977 9909 9965
Passcode: FaH2NH

Veranstalter: ÖAW-ÖAI, Bioarchäologische Gesellschaft

Ägyptologin Irmgard Hein berichtet diese Woche im ORF über "Die ägyptische Expansion"

Die stellvertretende Leiterin von VIAS, Ass. Prof. Irmgard Hein, berichtet in der ORF Sendereihe Betrifft: Geschichte jeweils Montag 15.11.2021 bis Freitag 19.11.2021 von 17:55 bis 18:00 zur ägyptischen Expansion - dem Aufstieg des Pharaonen-Reiches zur Großmacht.

Experimental-Archäologe Dr. Wolfgang Lobisser zu Gast im ORF

Experimental-Archäologe Dr. Wolfgang Lobisser war am 30. Juli 2021 als Gast in das ORF 1 Mittagsmagazin Punkt Eins eingeladen und berichtete über seine Arbeit und beantwortete im Gespräch mit Natasa Konopitzky die Fragen von Hörern und Hörerinnen. 

Die Sendung lässt sich hier nachhören.

Die Sonderausstellung Experimentelle Archäologie ist im MAMUZ Schloss Asparn/Zaya noch bis zum 21. November 2021 zu sehen. 

Im MAMUZ rekonstuiert Wolfgang Lobisser derzeit eine frühmittelalterlichen Kirche.

Präsentation von VIAS in der Zeitschrift IANSA

In der Zeitschrift IANSA (Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica – Natural Sciences in Archaeology) wurde ein Backstory-Artikel über VIAS veröffentlicht. Der auf Englisch verfaßte Artikel präsentiert die Arbeit und Forschungsaktivitäten des VIAS und steht hier als PDF zur Verfügung. 

Internationaler Workshop

Alpenkupfer im Vinschgau - Alpine Copper in the Vinschgau

Datum: 28. – 29. Mai 2021

Ort: online (YouTube-Kanal des Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum)
Für Zuhörer*innen, die sich an den Diskussionen beteiligen wollen, wird ein weiterer Zoom-Link im Mai ausgesendet.

Organisatoren: Mathias Mehofer (VIAS - Universität Wien) und Thomas Koch Waldner (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum)


Neue Forscherin in VIAS Projekt

Im November 2020 stieß die Wissenschaftlerin Dr. Magdalena Blanz zur VIAS-Gruppe. Sie arbeitet im Projekt Farmers without Borders: Ökologische Perspektiven auf die Ausbreitung der Tierhaltung vom Mittelmeerraum nach Südosteuropa (6500-5500 v. Chr.) von Ass.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Maria Ivanova-Bieg, welches von der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung gefördert wird.

Magdalenas Forschungsschwerpunkt liegt auf der Analyse von bioarchäologischen Überresten (z. B. Knochen, Zähne, Getreidekörner) und modernen Referenzsammlungen mittels Isotopenverhältnis- und Spurenelement-Massenspektrometrie. Ihre Doktorarbeit führte sie am Orkney Archaeology Institute (Schottland) durch, wo sie Methoden zur Identifizierung des Seetangkonsums in archäologischen Kontexten weiterentwickelte und die Auswirkungen der Düngung von Getreidekulturen mit Seetang untersuchte. Für ihren Master im Fach Chemie erforschte sie diagenetische Marker für Strontium-Isotopenverhältnis-Analysen von menschlichen Überresten.