The Rein Basin Chert Mine, Styria, Austria: A Neolithic Center for Tabular Chert Quarrying

Author(s): Michael Brandl; Daniel Modl

Year: 2018


Since 2009, the Neolithic chert quarrying site in the Rein Basin in Styria (Austria) has been the focus of a multidisciplinary research project. A mining area for tabular chert, approximately 10 hectares in size, was established at this locale in the course of a series of archaeological excavations, core soundings and a geophysical prospection. At Rein, tabular chert occurs in residual loams and mined in up to four meter deep shafts. According to this evidence, the site is only the second archaeologically traced Neolithic chert mine in present-day Austria.

The extracted raw chert plates suitable for chipped stone tool production were either worked on-site or shaped into bars, and subsequently transported into the settlements for further processing. Radiocarbon dates from charcoal samples derived from the prehistoric backfilling of the shafts indicate the Rein chert mine was in operation between 4500 and 3800 BC.

Additionally, the raw material was petrographically and geochemically characterized, allowing for accurate provenance studies of artifacts from prehistoric sites produced from Rein chert. These analyses revealed prehistoric distribution networks indicative of extensive contacts between Neolithic groups in the southeast Alpine realm, and afford the investigation of socio-economic developments on a supra-regional scale.

Cite this Record

The Rein Basin Chert Mine, Styria, Austria: A Neolithic Center for Tabular Chert Quarrying. Michael Brandl, Daniel Modl. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444024)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21307