• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Burgenland's 'Stonehenge' discovery

The Local · 17 Jul 2014, 09:23

Published: 17 Jul 2014 09:23 GMT+02:00

The mysterious millennia-old sites are currently being surveyed by experts who believe they once served both as a giant calendar and a place for rituals. 
 
It appears that circa 5,000 BC there was a large circular area in a field on the southern outskirts of Rechnitz, surrounded by wooden poles. It was only after aerial photographs were taken of the district that remnants of an ancient trench system became visible. 
 
Archaeologist Klaus Löcker told the ORF that the concentric circular trenches - some up to four metres deep - will now be made visible using magnetic measuring techniques. 
 
Inside the trenches are defensive walls with multiple entrances. 
 
Descriptions of Rechnitz's history usually state the area was settled in the Celtic period, around 500 BC. It now appears there was in fact a human settlement in the area over 5,000 years before Christ. 
 
"This is quite unique in Burgenland," said Mayor Engelbert Kenyeri. 
 
The purpose of these circular earthworks has long puzzled experts, but it now seems they were used as a calendar, and held ritual significance for neighbouring populations. 
 
"That is roughly equivalent to Stonehenge, only about 2,000 years older," said archaeologist Franz Sauer. 
 
Story continues below…
The criteria for site selection are a complete mystery. There are similar trench systems in Austria's Weinviertel and Bavaria, however the two discovered at Rechnitz are the first in Burgenland. 
 
"Such circular trenches are always positioned on a gentle slope, in order to give a clear view of the sky for the observation of the heavenly bodies," explained Sauer. 
 
The advent of aerial archaeology in the 1970s has enabled the study of ancient sites to take on a whole new dimension.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Holiday appeal for rape victim
The Theresienbad pool. Photo: Thomas Ledl/Wikimedia

Holiday appeal for rape victim
22 minutes ago

A campaign has started in Austria to send the 10-year-old boy raped by an asylum seeker on a holiday with his mum.

Suspect in au pair death refuses extradition
American Lauren Mann. Photo: Facebook/Private

Suspect in au pair death refuses extradition
44 minutes ago

An asylum seeker suspected of killing an American au pair who gave him sanctuary when Austrian officials wanted to deport him has refused to be extradited to face trial.

Asylum seekers given priority for hospital visits
Refugees arriving at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. File photo: Caritas

Asylum seekers given priority for hospital visits
1 hour ago

An admission by Austrian health officials that asylum seekers are given priority for hospital visits has been greeted by angry reaction.

The Local List
All you need to know about Faschingskrapfen
Photo: weareaustria.at

All you need to know about Faschingskrapfen
1 hour ago

Fasching, or carnival season, is an opportunity to eat as many Krapfen as you want. Here are four things to know about the jam-filled doughnuts before you give them up for Lent.

Police investigate 'Shariah police' carnival float
The controversial carnival float. Photo: Twitter/Streitapfel

Police investigate 'Shariah police' carnival float
2 hours ago

Following allegations of racism over an asylum seeker Panzer tank carnival float in Germany, police in Austria are now investigating a similar accusation over a Shariah police carnival float.

31 injured in Vienna apartment blaze
Photo: APA/OCZERET

31 injured in Vienna apartment blaze
3 hours ago

Thirty-one people were injured, two of them seriously, after a fire broke out in an apartment building in Vienna’s Favoriten district.

Austrian minister backs brake on benefits for EU migrants
Sebastian Kurz. Photo: ÖVP

Austrian minister backs brake on benefits for EU migrants
4 hours ago

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz wants to implement British PM David Cameron's proposed changes to child support benefits in Austria.

Coffee House Owners' Ball hit by fraud scandal
Kaffeesiederball 2015. Photo: Gerhard Fally

Coffee House Owners' Ball hit by fraud scandal
1 day ago

The organiser of the Vienna Coffee House Owners' Ball has been forced to step down after a scandal involving thousands of euros that went missing from the ball’s funds.

Vienna man on trial for jihadist activities
Vienna regional court. File photo: Flickr/Sebastian Baryli

Vienna man on trial for jihadist activities
1 day ago

A 25-year-old suspected jihadist is appearing in court in Vienna, accused of having fought with an al-Qaeda affiliated group.

Mother of rape victim wants attacker jailed in Austria
The Theresienbad pool. Photo: Thomas Ledl/Wikimedia

Mother of rape victim wants attacker jailed in Austria
1 day ago

The mother of a ten-year-old boy who was raped at a public swimming pool in Vienna by an Iraqi refugee wants his attacker to serve a prison sentence in Austria, before being deported.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
How to make Christmas more than just about presents
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Lifestyle
How to enjoy the Christmas season and avoid burn out
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Lifestyle
Want to find Vienna's best Christmas markets?
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
National
Lost on the way to sanctuary
Gallery
Crossing from Serbia into Croatia with thousands of refugees
2,507
jobs available