Natascha MEHLER / Ronny WEßLING / Anita SOOS / Klaus SCHINDL / Kathi HANSI / Maria RÖCKLINGER / Melanie JURITSCH / Melanie SINDELAR
(Universität Wien, Austria)

Abstract: In summer 2010, a part of the old Matzleinsdorf cemetery in Vienna was subject of a rescue excavation. The cemetery, in use from 1784 to 1879, was one out of five situated outside the cities ramparts which Emperor Joseph II founded as part of his attempts to reform the death care industry in his realm. The excavations revealed a number of high status graves indicated by elaborate metal coffins and brick-lined graves, as well as poor burials and even mass graves or bone deposits. 66 single graves and 3 shaft graves were excavated which contained the remains of ca. 205 individuals. In total, ca. 0,91 % of the total cemetery area was investigated.
The paper presents the results of the excavation and analysis of the written documents and maps preserved in the archives of Vienna. With the help of the cemeteries death registers it was possible to identify all individuals by name, occupation, sex and age, a result without comparison in Europe (to the best of our knowledge). The paper focuses on a discussion of the social status of the deceased as detected through burial architecture, material culture, the positioning of the burials within the cemetery and the written evidence.

Keywords: cemetery, post-medieval archaeology, Vienna