The historic landscape of Scharfeneck -- a combination of written sources and archaeological prospection data

Abstract

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the use of airborne laser scanning (ALS) and geophysical prospection within archaeological research. Likewise, the use of geographical information systems (GIS) for the documentation and mapping of archaeological remains has become commonplace. In the field of digital humanities and historical research, the development of tools for automated text recognition and the collection of large, open-source historical databases, are contributing to the advancement of the methodology. The here presented work deals with the study of the historical landscape of the Leithagebirge southeast of Vienna, based on written sources in combination with archaeological prospection data. The guiding questions are directed to illuminate how these latest methodological and technical advancements can be jointly exploited in order to benefit the disciplines of archaeological and historical research. For this purpose, an Urbarium of the Herrschaft Scharfeneck in Lower Austria dating to the 16th Century was transcribed and recorded in a historical database. In a second step, the database was combined with an interpretation of the ALS data of the area, which had been obtained in the framework of an FWF project run by the Institute of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology of the University of Vienna, as well as several historical maps. The integrated spatial analysis of these combined sources aims to address specific questions concerning the perception of castle Scharfeneck within the surrounding historical landscape, the investigation of the network of hollow ways in the region, the development of agricultural land use, as well as historical borders and desertification processes during the late medieval period. In addition, a best practice model for the combination of written sources and archaeological prospection data is being developed.

Roland Filzwieser
Roland Filzwieser
Researcher