Archaeological Prospection Case Study Birka-Hovgården

Since 2011 the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in collaboration with its Swedish partner, the Contract Archaeology Unit of the Swedish National Heritage Board, are conducting a large-scale archaeological prospection case study at the Viking Age settlement and trading place and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Birka-Hovgården. The site is located on the neighbouring islands of Björkö and Adelsö in Lake Mälaren, some 30 km west of Sweden's capital Stockholm.

Earlier archaeological excavations have shown that Birka has been an important Viking Age trading place. The rulers of Birka are believed to have resided at Hovgården on nearby Adelsö. On Björkö Sweden's largest assembly of Iron Age burial mounds is found in the grave field Hemlanden ("Homeland"). Due to the post glacial uplift the shore line of the islands in Lake Mälaren has dropped by approximately 5-6 m since 800 AD.

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology is a research institute of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and was founded in 2010. The institute carries out its research activities together with several international partner organizations and aims to create a network of archaeological scientists supporting interdisciplinary research programmes for the development of large-scale, efficient, non-invasive technologies for the discovery, documentation, visualization and interpretation of Europe's archaeological heritage.

The lead partners of the institute based in Vienna, are the University of Vienna, the Vienna University of Technology, the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, the Province of Lower Austria, Airborne Technologies, the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz, the Swedish Central National Heritage Board, the IBM Visual & Spatial Technology Centre Vista at the University of Birmingham and Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research.