Excavations at the medieval fortification of Neudegg, Lower Austria

Documentation of the excavation

Research question

The aim of this project is the archaeological exploration of the fortification of Neudegg, of which there are no archaeologically excavated objects usable for dating until now. Although pottery has been found consistently over the past decades, it has not yet undergone any typological analysis. Furthermore, a possible connection between the lineage of the Neudegger proven for the Wagram region is examined within this study. First written testimonies of the lineage of the "Neudegger" at the end of the High Middle Ages allow it to think about a possible emergence of the fortification in this period, but this must remain still speculation at this state of research. The local historian Karl Mehofer tried to locate the "ancestral seat" of the Neudegger at this fortification, whose postulated progenitor Otacher seems to be documented by research around 1130/40 AD. The earliest cited denomination by Weigl (HONB), which points to a resident noble family here ("de Neidekke"), dates to 1296 AD. In the year 1323 AD appears "the Neidekker", around 1368 AD. the name "von Neidegg". Before 1411 AD, a "firm Neydeck" is documented. However, a historically based ownership history remains reserved for future research.


The fortification is about 250 meters northeast of the local chapel on a narrow, rocky ridge, which dissolves from the excessive Wagram-plateau and runs towards the modern village. The ridge, which benches rocky shortly in front of the site and gradually narrows, ends at a frontal ditch that is still 3-4 m deep and separates the small area from the hinterland. This is followed by an approximately rectangular plateau, which shows a narrow (possible) ridge on the access side, separated by a shallow trench. The plateau probably formed the core zone of the castle. It is followed by a broad, trench-like depression (4) which may be the location of a former building (?). While the southeastern and northwestern flanks of the entire plant partly fall steeply and inaccessible, the terrain to the village benches in clear, widening steps. On the one hand, natural formations would be conceivable here, on the other hand, it could also be artificial land preparation - for settlement purposes, for example.

Burnt layer (reddish and black colored areas)

Remains of a stone foundation about 1.5m thick

Preliminary Results

In the course of the excavations very interesting finds could be excavated. An about 2 x 1 m large stone stove, which belonged to the castle and a 1.5-2 m thick stone foundation of a wall in deeper areas could be excavated. As a further example, in this excavation the remains of an auqamanile and a glass cup were found. In addition, a completely preserved oil lamp came to light. Numerous pottery fragments from the 2nd half of the 13th century - the beginning of the 14th century AD, as well as many animal bones of pork, beef, chicken and fish were found. In the second excavation trench, just a few meters away, an inner ditch, about 2.5 m deep, was excavated, which only revealed a few poterry remains and metal objects, including an arrowhead. These finds give first indications of the lifestyle and habits of the former inhabitants, who belonged to a higher social class. The finds are now restored and documented and prepared for publication.


  • Dr. Martin Krenn, Archäologie NÖ, Bundesdenkmalamt

Finds from the settlement layers

Pottery fragments with ornaments

Attractions in the Neudegg area (selection):
  • Heldenberg, Kleinwetzdorf: Kreisgrabenanlage
  • Radlbrunn: Brandlhof
  • Großriedenthal: Hausberg von Großriedenthal                                                                                     (www.grossriedenthal.at/erkunden/ausflugsziele)
  • Neudegg: Mittelalterlicher Burgstall, Ortskapelle, Lößhof-Profil "Neun Mauna" (www.grossriedenthal.at/erkunden/ausflugsziele)
  • Elsarn: Freilichtmuseum Elsarn im Straßertal