The settlement area of Sopron as an economic and cultural crossroads for the Eastern Celts

The settlement area of Sopron as an economic and cultural crossroads for the Eastern Celts

In both cultural and geographical terms, the Late Bronze Age to Iron Age cultural area of Sopron, at the intersection of important transport routes, occupies a key position between Northern and Southern Europe (the “Amber Road”) and between Southeast and Central Europe. It therefore contains important find sites, including sites from the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age, i.e. the pre-Celtic and Celtic period, which had had broad, supra-regional connections and importance. This settlement area offers telling evidence of the extensive supra-regional cultural relations among the early Celts, and also in the Late Bronze Age, which are the result of the region’s particular suitability for settlement, its position in relation to transport routes, and the trade with raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods.

In 2000, a German-Hungarian team decided to pay closer attention to this research area again. The aim was to examine the prehistoric settlement site of Sopron with its cemetery. This analysis of the findings of excavations in the Sopron-Krautacker settlement is a significant part of a wave of research projects in Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic which, in recent decades, have led to a tremendous expansion of the state of archaeological knowledge about the economy of the Celts. Economic foundations and their influence on cultural and social development are seen as key causes of historical changes and events; pre-industrial elements of Celtic economy are very much in evidence in settlements like Sopron, and document around 500 years of European economic and cultural development.
This wide-ranging complex of topics was divided into individual sub-topics and explored in masters’ and doctoral theses carried out by young scholars at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. The department of mining archaeology, in collaboration with the department of archaeometallurgy, dealt with the metalworking finds in the settlement (forges, waste from the processing of non-ferrous metal and iron etc.), and co-ordinated the German side of the project. The first part of this project is of interest to mining archaeology, given that the hinterland of the Sopron basin contains important iron ore deposits, e.g. in the Oberpullendorf Basin. Iron smelting played an important economic role here too, from the early Middle Ages (period of the Avars and Arpads). To deal with the diverse topics (Iron Ages settlement, pottery, cemetery and settlement from the Urnfield culture etc.), an academic exchange took place between several German universities and research institutes and the archaeology department of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Completed PhD theses

Franka Schwellnus
Die Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn) in der Späthallstatt- bis Frühlatènezeit

Manuel Zeiler
Die jüngerlatènezeitliche Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn)

Project manager

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum


Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

Magyar Ösztondíj Bizottság (MÖB)


2001 - 2004

Abschlusspublikation in Vorbereitung


  • J. Gömöri, Castrum Supron. Sopron vára és környéke az Árpád-korban (Sopron 2002).
  • B. Havasi, Sopron-Várhely (Burgstall). In: E. Jerem (Hrsg.), Exkursionsführer Tagung der AG Eisenzeit in Sopron 10.-13. Oktober 2002 (Budapest 2002) 5-6.
  • E. Jerem, Sopron-Krautacker (Kom. Győr-Sopron). Arch. Ért. 104, 1977, 263.
  • E. Jerem, Sopron-Krautacker (Kom. Győr-Sopron). Arch. Ért. 107, 1980, 240.
  • E. Jerem, Sopron-Krautacker (NW-Wohnviertel) (Kom. Győr-Sopron). Arch. Ért. 108, 1981, 263-264.
  • E. Jerem, Bemerkungen zur Siedlungsgeschichte der Späthallstatt- und Frühlatènezeit im Ostalpenraum. Veränderungen in der Siedlungsstruktur: archäologische und paläoökologische Aspekte. In: Hallstattkolloqium Veszprém 1984 (Budapest 1986) 107-118, 363-365.
  • 1987/88: E. Jerem, Sopron-Krautacker (Kom. Győr-Sopron). Arch. Ért. 114-115, 1987-1988, 263.
  • E. Jerem, The Sopron-Krautacker settlement. In: The Celts (Venezia 1991) 379.
  • E. Jerem, Iron Age horse burial at Sopron-Krautacker (NW Hungary). Aspects of trade and religion. In: Man and the animal world. Studies in Archaeozoology, Archaeology, Anthropology and Palaeolinguistics in memoriam Sándor Bökönyi (Budapest 1998) 319-334.
  • E. Jerem / J. Kardos / L. Kriston / O. Morozová / T. Träger / K. Zimmer, Scientific investigations of the Sopron-Krautacker Iron Age pottery workshop. Archaeometry 27/1, 1985, 83-93.
  • E. Jerem / M. Balla / L. Balázs, Early Celtic stamped pottery in the Eastern Alpine Area: Workshop activity and trade. In: Archaeometrical Research in Hungary II (Budapest, Kaposvár, Veszprém 1998) 85-95.
  • E. Jerem / G. Facsar, Zum urgeschichtlichen Weinbau in Mitteleuropa, Rebkernfunde von Vitis vinifera L. aus der urnenfelder-, hallstatt- und latènezeitlichen Siedlung Sopron-Krautacker. In: Urgeschichte – Römerzeit – Mitelalter. Materialien zur Archäologie und Landeskunde des Burgenlandes 1. Festschrift für Alois-J. Ohrenberger (Eisenstadt 1985) 121-143.
  • F. Schwellnus, Die Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn) in der Späthallstatt- bis Frühlatènezeit (Diss. Philipps-Universität Marburg 2009).
  • F. Schwellnus, Pintadere: Überblick über die Fundgruppe der Tonstempel ausgehend von zwei Funden aus Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn). Arch. Korrbl. 40, 2010, 207-226.
  • F. Schwellnus, Die Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn) in der späten Hallstatt- und frühen Latènezeit. Arch. Korrbl. 41, 2011, 359-373.
  • M. Zeiler, Die jüngerlatènezeitliche Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn) (Diss. Philipps-Universität Marburg 2009).
  • M. Zeiler, Rekonstruktion von Töpfereien der jüngeren vorrömischen Eisenzeit (Ha D-Lt D) In: Architektur: Interpretation und Rekonstruktion. Beiträge zur Sitzung der AG Eisenzeit während des 6. Deutschen Archäologie-Kongresses in Mannheim 2008 (Langenweißbach 2009) 263-280.
  • M. Zeiler, Untersuchungen zur jüngerlatènezeitlichen Keramikchronologie im östlichen Mitteleuropa (Rahden/Westfalen 2010).
  • M. Zeiler, Die Siedlung von Sopron-Krautacker (Westungarn) in der jüngeren Latènezeit. Arch. Korrbl. 41, 2011, 375-394.
  • M. Zeiler / P. C. Ramsl / E. Jerem / J. V. S. Megaw, Stempelgleiche Frühlatène-Keramik zwischen Traisental und Neusiedlersee. In: Relics of Old Deceny: archaeological studies in later prehistory. Festschrift for Barry Raftery (Dublin 2009) 259-276.