(Stadtarchäologie Wien, Austria)

Outline: The development of Streets and squares has always been an important historical und archaeological  issue of research in Vienna. This projects main intention is to provide a renewed perspective based on excavation results of the last twenty years and to rework some outdated convictions.

Abstract: Very similar to a town itself streets and squares can offer examples of discontinuity as well as for very different ways of continuity. Stating discontinuity might cut the discussion short, stating any way of continuity is just the starting point for proceeding on a very complex and multi-levelled/multilayer body of work.

In the case of explicit discontinuity the main task lies in describing the end of one continuous development and describing the beginning of a new and different process. Searching after the terminus and arguing about the reason/s for a hiatus in use and probably expansion or replacing is of the essence.

Continuity contains far more questions und needs more in depth explanation.

Continuous and unchanged use of an area might be one manifestation. Another option might be open space nearly undiminished in its expanse, but passing through different forms of utilization.

Vienna’s 1st district offers various examples, ranging from perfect continuity in the strictest sense of the meaning as exemplified in the Herrengasse, to complete discontinuity on all scales displayed at the Michaelerplatz. In the first case a street simply remains a street while Roman remnants in the surrounding area are purposeful elected to be transformed into the foundation of a medieval town. Secondly – the Michaelerplatz – a square emerged as the result of various different processes, embodying the very essence of discontinuity.

Keywords: Structural changes, continuity/discontinuity, Roman period to Middle Ages