Open Access

Geoarchaeological remote sensing prospection of Miocene limestone quarries in the hinterland of Roman Carnuntum and Vindobona (Vienna Basin, Austria)


We have documented quarries in Miocene limestone in the Vienna Basin (Austria), Hundsheim Mountains, Leitha Mountains and Rust Hills in high-resolution airborne laser scanning data and orthophotos aiming for a diachronic quarry inventory since the Roman period. The study region was divided into 6 quarry regions and the quarries of the whole study area as well as each separate region were analyzed concerning different rock types, mean, minimum and maximum quarry area and development in the different maps. Age information have been sought from historical maps, historical photography and paintings as well as quarry face graffiti. In total, 658 quarries, possible quarries and shallow quarries have been outlined in the detailed digital terrain models, which were compared with 453 quarries indicated in four generations of historical maps between the years 1754 to 1872. The numbers of quarries are generally low in the Walter map (1754–1756), the First Military Survey (1773–1785) and Second Military Survey (1809–1846) but increase tremendously in the maps of the Third Military Survey (1872–1873).

Most old quarries were quarried also in subsequent periods, commonly destroying virtually all pre-existing traces. According to our results two types of quarries represent highly interesting targets for more detailed studies in the search for Roman quarries: (i) areas in historical maps with suspicious uneven terrain, which have never been outlined as quarries and areas that have been mapped as “old quarries” – especially in the Third Military Survey; examples represent areas northwest and west of Pfaffenberg in Bad Deutsch-Altenburg (Lower Austria), “Gruibert” in Winden am See (Burgenland) and “Hoher Berg” in Stotzing (Burgenland); (ii) Shallow quarries, which neither appear in historical maps nor in the mining archive of the Geological Survey of Austria like the one from the saddle between Pfaffenberg and Hundsheimer Berg.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Geosciences, Geophysics, Geology and Mineralogy, other