Projektteil 05: Excavation at the Rothornjoch, Allgäu Alps, 2011



A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner


Thomas Bachnetzer Bakk. phil. 
Mag. phil. Beatrix Nutz
Julia Hammerschmied Bakk. phil.

University of Innsbruck
Institute of Archaeologies
Center for Ancient Cultures
Langer Weg 11
A-6020 Innsbruck

Rothornjoch 2011 



Archaeological test excavation at the Rothornjoch, Allgäu Alps, 2011

On the Rothornjoch in the Allgäu Alps, Tyrol, archaeological investigations were carried out from 4 - 7 July 2011 by the Institute of Archaeologies, University of Innsbruck, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In the course of a survey in 2009 a possible chert exploitation site was identified at an altitude of 2150m above sea level. This site was to be verified in 2011. A small terrace preceded by a probable stockpile is situated in front of an exposed rock wall, consisting exclusively of gray - green chert. The research objectives were the clarification of the anthropogenic origin of the chert outcrop and a possible dating. The excavation was laid out in an area of 1x4m. Already during the removal of humus numerous worked chert pieces were discovered. Consisting of a high proportion of retouched pieces with many additional small residual nuclei the entire artifact spectrum suggests a prehistoric use. The raw form of a flint axe head adds to this dating. A chert area exposed during the excavation shows clear signs of quarrying operations carried out by hammering of the bedrock.  Many small pieces of lithic debitage can be found in the surrounding sediment. The discovery of a fragment of a hammer stone also fits this feature. Thus this site may not only be considered a use area, but an actual prehistoric small-scale mining area. In addition the presence of a hammer stone speaks clearly against modern flint mining. A preliminary dating can only be given with extreme caution, since no typologically exact datable pieces were found. Thus an operation of the mine between the 6th and 3rd millennium BC is assumed.

M. Brandl, Th. Bachnetzer (site directors)


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