Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Austria

Carnuntum

Carnuntum was a Roman Legionary Fortress and also headquarters of the Pannonian fleet from 50 AD. After the 1st century it was capital of the Pannonia Superior province. It also became a large city of 50,000 inhabitants. In Roman times Carnuntum had a history as a major trading centre for amber, brought from the north to traders who sold it in Italy; the main arm of the Amber Road crossed the Danube at Carnuntum. Its impr ...
Founded: 50 AD | Location: Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria

Aguntum

Aguntum was a Roman site in East Tirol. The city appears to have been built to exploit the local sources of iron, copper, zinc and gold. During the early Christian era the city was the site of a bishopric. The oldest Roman remains are a two-roomed wooden structure discovered beneath the bath house and dated to the mid-first century BC. Aguntum was a mining and trading centre which exploited local sources of iron, copper ...
Founded: 50 BC | Location: Lienz, Austria

Bruckneudorf Roman Villa

In Roman times the Bruckneudorf area was already densely populated, and Villa Bruckneudorf, one of the most important Roman villas to be discovered in Eastern Austria, is a few kilometres to the east. The villa is presumed to be a residence of the imperial family in the autumn of 375 AD. Today impressive ruins remain. Of the magnificent mosaics, more than 300 m² are still preserved. These are located in the Landesmus ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Bruckneudorf, Austria

Teurnia

Teurnia was a Roman city in western Carinthia. In late antiquity it was also a bishop"s see, and towards the end of Roman times it was mentioned as the capital of the province of Noricum mediterraneum. As early as 1100 BC, people had lived there on Holzerberg hill, which may well have also been the centre of the Celtic Taurisci nation. Before c. 50 AD the Roman town was built with a forum, a market basilica, a templ ...
Founded: 50 AD | Location: Sankt Peter in Holz, Austria

Virunum

Claudium Virunum was a Roman city in the province of Noricum, on today"s Zollfeld in the Austrian State of Carinthia. Virunum was founded under Emperor Claudius as the capital of the province of Noricum. The new Roman foundation was situated on the main route from the Adriatic to the Danube, with a branch through south eastern Carinthia connecting Virunum with the Amber Road. From AD 343 Virunum is known to have be ...
Founded: 50 AD | Location: Zollfeld, Austria

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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.