Martin KRENN1 / Ute SCHOLZ2
(1Federal Department of Monuments, Archaeological department, Vienna, Austria / 2Archaeology Service, St. Pölten, Austria)
Large excavations in the built-up area of Tulln have allowed the documentation of the reuse of Roman structures on the Limes and of the foundations of medieval urban development on a scale previously unknown in Austria. These various projects have led to far-reaching discoveries about the pattern of settlement in the Roman period and thrown light on issues to do with settlement continuity.
Tulln – Roman Comagenis – has been a focus of rescue archaeology for several decades. Large excavations in the built-up area – some very large – have allowed the documentation of the reuse of Roman structures on the Limes and of the foundations of medieval urban development on a scale previously unknown in Austria. The first systematic excavations in the Roman / medieval town centre began in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, numerous construction projects led to a continuous stream of excavations by the Archaeological Department of the Federal Department of Monuments. A new stage was reached between 2005 and 2008 as several large projects led to the archaeological examination of an area of around 40,000 m². The north-western cemetery of the Roman fort and the medieval suburbs (former Fire Brigades School project), the suburbs of the Roman fort and the medieval market square (Hauptplatz project) and several plots between the market square and the town wall in the medieval artisans’ district in the south-western area of the town (Rosenarcade mall project) were all affected. Smaller excavations became necessary in the southern Roman cemetery (Bahnhofstraße excavation) and at the western wall of the Roman fort in Tulln’s high medieval core. These projects have led to far-reaching discoveries about the pattern of settlement in the Roman period and thrown light on issues to do with settlement continuity. The beginnings of the urbanisation process from the 9th century onwards have been examined. The growth of the town with the enlargement of the urban area and the laying-out of house plots in the 13th century, the blossoming of trade and the craft industries, but also the gradual decline of the town have all been recorded.
This quantitative and qualitative challenge could only have been mastered through the rigorous application of modern excavation methods. The tightly-packed layer sequences in all excavated areas made a strictly stratigraphic working method absolutely necessary. Crucially, digital photography and photogrammetry were accompanied by surveying with total station and the immediate processing of the digital plans. The resulting documentation is now simplifying the rapid analysis of the contexts excavated.
Tulln, Urban Archaeology, Settlement Continuity, Urbanisation Process