Prehistoric Department: collection Bronze Age

Natural History Museum Vienna

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Electronic database / Collection

Short Description

The Natural History Museums collection Bronze Age houses ca 30,000 single objects, from around 2300 BC until 800 BC, maily deriving fro sites in Central Europe.

The Bronze Age is named after the emerging use of the alloy of copper and tin for the manufacture of weapons, tools and jewelry. The new material bronze radically changed people's lives and led to completely new division of labor and specializations in their everyday lives, including the formation of professions. The collection of the Natural History Museum holds artefacts from different cultural groups of the Early Bronze Age. These are named after important Central European sites in the former Danube Monarchy, such as Aunjetiz (Únětice) in Bohemia, Unterwölbling in Lower Austria or Wieselburg (Moson) in western Hungary.

In addition to artefacts from important Bronze Age cemeteries in the Traisental in Lower Austria, the dagger from Maiersdorf, Lower Austria or the well-known finds from Stillfried an der March, Lower Austria (horse bridle from a fortified hilltop settlement) from the Late Bronze Age are to be mentioned. The collections also include finds from Mühlbach am Hochkönig (Salzburg), one of the oldest copper mines in Austria, whose raw material was also used to produce the famous Nebra sky disc.

Contact Person

Dr. Anton Kern

Research Services

Identification of artifacts in terms of chronological and regional distribution possible on request, information about the collection material and context information about the excavations.

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

Collection, conservation and research of material remains of human history.
Macroscopic and microscopic analysis of the artifacts, interdisciplinary cooperation with other departments, especially the central research laboratories of the NHM Vienna.
Contextualization of the artifacts with the archaeological evidence, studying the documentation of the excavations (images, graphics, excavation documentation, etc.). For artefacts that were excavated in the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, historical documents and images from the excavations or collections / acquisitions are to be studied (archives of the prehistoric department).

Allocation to Core Facility

Department of Prehistory, Natural History Museum Vienna

Dr. Anton Kern
Prähistorische Abteilung
+43 1 52177-277
Appointment necessary.
Analysis of the original artifacts is provided due to the Austrian Monument Protection laws.
Sampling of objects is only possible within the framework of scientific cooperation.
University Vienna
Austrian Academy of Sciences
2010-2013: EU-Project CinBA - Creativity and Craft Production in Bronze Age Europe (Projectleader: Joanna Sofaer, Universität Southampton, UK):
GRÖMER, K. & KERN, A. (eds.) (2018): Artifacts. Treasures of the Millennia. A Guide through the Prehistoric Collection. Natural History Museum Vienna Exhibition guide. Wien 2018: Verlag des Naturhistorischen Museums.