Excavation in Mannersdorf an der March, Lower Austria
In the 1990s a settlement inhabited from the Neolithic period until the protohistoric period was discovered during the construction of new houses between Mannersdorf and Angern. Excavation work was carried out at the time by staff from the Department of Prehistory at the Natural History Museum, led by Dr Anton Kern.
Further investigations on the area west of the B49 road made it possible to learn more about how this settlement developed. Excavations ongoing since 2017 in cooperation with the company ARDIG (excavation directors: Dr Anton Kern and Dr Walpurga Antl; coordination: Susanne Baumgart from ARDIG) have revealed a number of graves from the Early Bronze Age, including one containing multiple bodies. Further remains of the settlement have also been found. Additional work planned for 2020 will provide a clearer picture of the situation.
The excavations to date have been financed by the municipality of Angern, the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments and the regional government of Lower Austria.
The location offers favourable conditions for a settlement. It is close to the March river, but just high enough to be protected from flooding. Houses in the Neolithic Age, the Late Bronze Age, the Hallstatt culture, the Latène culture and protohistory were built close together. Of particular interest is a Late Bronze Age pit with large parts of animal carcasses (pigs/boars and dogs/wolves). Among the animal remains were numerous fragments of storage vessels. Another pit dating from this period contained a large quantity of charred grain. A pottery kiln from the Latène culture was also found at this site.
However, the outstanding finds at this site came from two pits dating to the Hallstatt culture. They contained numerous vessel fragments, including several almost complete vessels with graphite painting as well as a number of other high-quality ceramics. Also worth mentioning is a fragment of an andiron topped with animal figures, a number of spinning whorls and a fragment of a loom weight. A few animal bones, charred remains of acorns and the charred cores of cherries or wild plums as well as many fish scales and some shells give an insight into the diet of people living here. To the west of the excavation area there is a double ditch running through the site from north to south. So far only a few items have been found in this ditch, making it hard to know which period it dates from.