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Burial ground in the monastery courtyard, from catalog Upper Austrian Landesausstellung exhibition "treasures, graves, places of sacridices traunkirchen. 08, Siegl: FÖMat A, special issue 6, 2008

2. Traunkirchen for Millennia

Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria
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People come and go

Forced by climate catastrophes, overpopulation, epidemics, persecution, the struggle for resources, war and need, people have always set off on the way in search of new living space to survive. They bring their culture with them, mix it with existing ones and thus develop new forms of culture.

Primeval settlement of Traunkirchen

It is hardly possible to determine the names of the peoples or tribes that passed through Traunkirchen or settled here in prehistoric times. But their presence can be proven by archaeological findings. Representatives of a mixed culture, the Mondsee pile construction culture lived here (Offenberger, Nicolussi 1981, 1994), who are assigned to the Urnfield culture (1200 - 750 BC) according to the type of burial.
Also a Bronze Age, and above all a settlement of Traunkirchen in the older Iron Age, the Hallstatt period (750 - 450 BC) is documented due to stray finds, burial grounds, and finds of sacrificial offerings on the Johannesberg littered with thousands of shards (test excavation Felgenhauer, 1979), as well as the excavation of 95 graves from the urnfields and Hallstatt period in the cloister courtyard of Traunkirchen (Federal Monument Office 1998).


The salt mountain at Hallstatt, which had been in operation for about 1000 years at that time, today the most impressive salt mining site from prehistoric times, was a center of salt mining during this period and was therefore also important for Traunkirchen. The prosperity of the population of Traunkirchen at that time was established through lively trade and thus cultural exchange in the north and in the south. Unfortunately, this period of human history at Lake Traunsee is only partially explored (excavation in 1913 of a large Bronze Age hill burial ground in today's SEP site in Gmunden by Prof. Wimmer).
The finds around 400 BC in the younger Iron Age, La-Tène-period are not as numerous as in the early days. It is also not known which ethnic groups were and have been domestic. The Celtic influence is visible. It is known from historical sources that the prople of Noricum, a strongly Celtic ethnic group, occupied the Eastern Alps and developed iron processing.

Kingdom of Noricum

Around 200 BC 13 tribes joined together to form a tribal kingdom to protect themselves against the continually devastating ethnic groups and maintained friendly, mutually supportive relationships with Rome. Traunkirchen and the Salzkammergut were part of the Kingdom of Noricum. We don't know much about their religious ideas. But they seem to have been shaped by female deities. Norea, the most important deity, the maternal earth, was the protectress of the country, the capital Norea, patroness of the mines and goddess of fertility.

Roman province of Noricum

The pressure of Nordic Germanic tribes grew steadily. The Marcomans, fearing for their freedom, invaded present-day Bohemia under King Marbod, as well as the Quads that invaded Moravia. The inhabitants of Noricum, Roman-friendly, went under the protection of the Romans, and so arbout 15 BC the Kingdom of Noricum was a clientele state that lasted until AD 45. A separate kingdom remained, but then came under Roman administration.

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH


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