The Roman settlement of Halbturn is located close to the Hungarian border, some 60 kilometres to the east of Vienna. In Roman times, the settlement was part of the province of Pannonia, with its capital Carnuntum situated approximately 30 kilometres to the north. Discovered by coincidence in the year 1986, when two undisturbed graves from the late Roman period were found, the site has quickly aroused the curiosity of archaeologists. Conducted by the Department for Prehistoric and Early Historic Archaeology of the University of Vienna, a research project concerning Halbturn was launched with support by the Austrian Scientific Research Fund, the regional government of the province of Burgenland, Vienna University and the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research (as it was then titled). The aim of this project was to clarify a number of demographic questions concerning the site's population and to obtain data on the natural environment and agriculture in Halbturn during the Roman period. Archaeological excavations of the cemetery (Halbturn I) took place between 1988 and 2002. At the same time, extensive archaeological prospection work was carried out. Aerial archaeology, near-surface geophysical prospection methods and systematic field walking were used to investigate the cemetery and its surroundings.

Recent developments in prospection hardware and software allow us today to work with much improved efficiency on the scale of landscapes, and in case of Halbturn, to go after the question if we can actually reconstruct a complex model describing the spatial character of a villa rustica. Settlement area and zones of working activity, farm buildings and agricultural areas (fields, pasture, and forest), graveyards and cult sites are integrative parts of the model; also the relations with the neighbors are of interest and are reflected in the subdivision of the land, in the road networks, and possible common economic basis such as horse breeding. The case study Halbturn aims at the total documentation by integrated archaeological prospection of the chosen landscape in order to gain a better understanding of this spatial model.

View a map of Halbturn.