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Krenn-Leeb, A., Supper, R., Ottowitz, D., Jochum, B., Preiner, A., Weßling, R., Jetzinger, D., 2023. A swamp as an obstacle to approach–archaeological and geoelectrical investigations on the Early Bronze Age fortification of Ratzersdorf, Lower Austria, Advances in On-and Offshore Archaeological Prospection: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Archaeological Prospection, pp. 159-162.
In the late Early Bronze Age, numerous fortified hilltop settlements with a central site character became established in Central Europe. They often have complex defense structures and required intensive protection for some time. But the majority of these sites were destroyed at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. In most cases, the fortification structures were not rebuilt and the sites were abandoned. Obviously a social, economic, and political-ideological change made these fortifications obsolete (Jaeger 2016; Krenn-Leeb 2013).
Within the framework of a long-term research focus on the settlement region “Wölbling Basin“ in Lower Austria under the direction of Alexandra Krenn-Leeb, landscape archaeological questions concerning the use of fortified hilltop settlements, space, activity zones, architecture, fortification structures, settlement site selection from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age are in the foreground of the interdisciplinary investigations (Krenn-Leeb 2019).
The Wölbling Basin is located in the Dunkelsteinerwald and belongs geologically to the Bohemian Massif. Therefore, since 2018 archaeological excavations have been taking place at the Early Bronze Age fortified hilltop settlement with a central site character of Ratzersdorf near
Wölbling (1800–1600 BC; Krenn-Leeb 2021). The fortification is situated on a west-east oriented, oval spur-like hilltop on the western edge of the Wölbling Basin and is naturally bordered on three sides by deeply incised streams and steeply sloping hillsides. The site is ca. 440 m above the sea level and has an approx. 440 x 340 m extension (approx. 120 000 m2).