hallstatt

Experimental archaeology

Experimental archaeology has played a central role in Hallstatt since the start of modern-day research at the site in the 1960s. Series of tests planned and carried out according to scientific criteria provide important insights for the research community. As a rule, the other way in which archaeologists further their knowledge is through observation and by comparing objects found at one site with similar objects from another site. However, since there are very few objects similar to those from the mines of Hallstatt, experimental archaeology is of key importance to research into prehistoric mining in this region.

Introduction to experimental archaeology
Reconstructions
Significance of experimental archaeology in Hallstatt
 

Introduction to experimental archaeology

Experimental archaeology deals with very precise issues, for example the construction or the function of a prehistoric tool. To this end, archaeological objects are manufactured and used in prehistoric conditions, meaning that they are made from materials used in prehistory and with reconstructed prehistoric tools.
 

Reconstructions

The reconstruction of prehistoric items presupposes the detailed examination of the relevant processing and manufacturing techniques and the material properties, resulting in a gain in empirically established knowledge that would not have been obtained in a ‘conventional’ way.
 

Significance of experimental archaeology in Hallstatt

Experimental archaeology has a long tradition in Hallstatt. Prehistoric tools from the salt mine were accurately reconstructed for the first time and their use scientifically documented some 30 years ago. Meanwhile, we have reconstructions of nearly all tools discovered in the mine, so that we are in a position to ‘reenact’ complete working processes.

(Kowarik, K. – Reschreiter, H. – Loew, C.)