Research projects

Economy and society in the Bronze Age in the area of middle Danube according to archaeological and environmental data

VEGA 1/0100/19

Duration: 2019-2022

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora

Project goal: The chief scientific aim of the project is to provide new and complex knowledge about the economy and society of the Bronze Age in the area of middle Danube. The chance, that new and significant results will be achieved is backed by already sufficient amount of broad spectrum of data from recently finished excavations. However, we aim to gather even more data from new field activities, such as new small-scale excavations and new terrain prospections, where the interdisciplinary cooperation will play a significant role. There is a high probability of providing a new insight into the social and economic processes and environment in the Bronze Age (2300¬-850 BC). We will be able to provide new knowledge about the various issues with relevance to 21st century, such as environmental problems and migrations (small and large scale).


Natura et cultura. The coevolution of mankind and nature between 6th and 2nd millenium BC in the area north of the middle Danube studied on the basis of archaeological and environmental sources.


Duration: 2015-2019

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora

Project characteristics: Period between 6th and 2nd millennium BC is an important milestone in Central Europe. Agricultural cultures established themselves and new technologies were developed. New changes in subsistence strategies occurred, in the complexity of human society and demography, as well. All these changes in human society were closely related to development of natural environment, which was under continuously higher influence of man.

Landscape of Central Europe is an outcome of long coevolution of nature and human activities. It is almost impossible to follow the evolution of environment and landscape without previous understanding of history of human activities. Events in the evolution of environment in Pleistocene and older Holocene are made of natural factors such as climatic oscillations, paedogenesis. During the Holocene, impact of human on landscape is more notable. An important part of the project would be the realization of archaeological excavations and prospections on selected sites from the Neolithic till the Early Bronze Age. Special stress will be placed on fortified settlements and their economical hinterland to see changes of settlement structure. An important part will be the usage of non-destructive methods, such as aerial survey, prospection and geophysical measurements. Very important will be paleo-ecological research, which will bring another methods and opportunities to identify the impact of humans on landscape. The goal will be to understand the complex changes which led to shaping of modern landscape.

It will be important to follow technological and environmental changes, which took place in the area of middle Danube from the transition to agriculture till the influence of Mediterranean urban civilizations on Early Bronze Age cultures. A key point of the project is the area of northern tributaries of middle Danube, which offers not only exceptional archaeological record but also many sites suitable for paleo-environmental research.

European Commission, Horizon 2020
COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

 Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment

COST Action CA 15201

Duration: 2016-2020

Chair of the action: Isto Huvila (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Management committee member for Slovakia: Peter Tóth

Project goal: As nations and the EU are making considerable investments in technologies, infrastructures and standards for working with archaeological knowledge, understanding of how this knowledge is produced and used remains fragmentary. Our aim is to overcome this fragmentation by forming a transdisciplinary network that brings together the knowledge from individual research projects, national initiatives and EU projects in the field of archaeological knowledge production and use.

Official webpage of the action

Webpage within COST framework

The beginnings of shaping of the urban space in Bratislava

VEGA No. 1/0827/16

Duration: 2016-2019

Principal investigator: Tomáš König

Project goal: The aim of the project is to give a balanced overview of the urbanisation process in Bratislava, precisely define types of settlements, their specific structure, construction form, function and relations to their background. Chronological frame ranges between the 1st century BC and 13th century AD. One of the cornerstones of the project is the new source material of high scientific value collected during the intesive archaeological excavations performed in the castle, historic town centre and its extensive surroundings.

The settlement structure and dynamics of the Late Aeneolithic and the Early Bronze Age in the north-western part of Carpathian region

VEGA No. 1/0411/16

Duration: 2016-2018

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora

Project goal: The main research goal of the  project is to bring relevant and complex information which will allow us to understand the settlement structure and its dynamics. These are important sources for understanding the economy and society at the end of the Aeneolithic and in the Early Bronze age in the north-western part of Carpathian region. It means to gradually explore the selected components and the settlement structure network. We want to identify and specify the nature of individual fortified and open settlements and adjacent cemeteries. With a close cooperation with natural sciences we want to reconstruct the human natural environment and the relationship between human and nature in the period of 2800-1450 BC.

Bratislava in the Middle of 4th Millenium calBC. The settlement picture in the time of Baden culture

VEGA No. 1/0787/16

Duration: 2016-2018

Principal investigator: Jana Mellnerová Šuteková

Project goals: The project is aimed at the study of archaeological and bio-archaeol. remains of Baden in Bratislava, based on heuristics of archival and published excavation reports, completing of excavation documentation and the use of a whole range of contemporary means of multidisciplinary archaeol. analysis. At the current state, one can suggest the existence of an extensive residential area in historic centre nad the castle hill, in the mid-fourth millennium BC, which has not been the subject of specialized study project up till now. The objectives of our project are mainly 1) to determine the extent and intensity of settlement, 2) to create a database of all finds and a system of their description, 3) applying of multidisciplinary research methodologies, 4) chronometric dating of chosen relative-chronological events and 5) to identify trends in distance and local communications. Results will be also implemented in education and presented on exhibition (MMB). This project is a follow up research of VEGA 1/0924/12, 1/0964/13.

Museology in Practice

Visegrad Fund, serial No. 21510564

Duration: 2015-2016

Applicant: János Thorma Museum Kiskunhalas (Hungary)

Partner institutions:

  1. Masaryk Muzeum in Hodonín (Czech Republic)
  2. District Museum in Nowy Sacz (Poland)
  3. Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava
  4. University of Szeged (Hungary)

Project goal: The main aim is to establish long time cooperation on harmonizing the role, the responsibility and the activity of the provincial museums and to offer chance for practical experience to future professionals in V4 countries. Five partners from the four Visegrad countries aim at sharing their best practices, their experience on different fields of museum activities in order to improve their social image and to develop into competitive European museums of 21st century.

More information can be found at this information sheet.

Celtic pottery production on the Middle Danube. Pottery workshops and kilns in late Ta Tène period from Devín Gate to Danube Bend.

VEGA No. 1/0762/14

Duration: 2014-2017

Principal investigator: Andrej Vrtel

Project goal: To examine the pottery manufacture in late La Tène period along the middle Danube. The object of research will be primarily pottery kilns, but secondarily also final products, which often provide the only evidence about used techniques and technologies. The position of pottery manufacturing in the settlement structure and settlement strategy will be studied. The degree of specialisation and organisation of manufacturing will be revealed as well as essential contributions will be made to the knowledge of distributional spheres in researched area. Ornamentation techniques will be better elucidated and verified (technology of painting). Project's result will be published in forms of studies and monographs.

Geophysical prospection of the former Benedictine monasteries in Slovakia

VEGA No. 1/0740/14

Duration: 2014-2016

Principal investigator: Michal Slivka

Project goals: Geophysical identification of ground plan architecture of destroyed Benedictine monasteries as well as other monastic communities.

Pottery - production, distribution and use from early historical period to early Middle Ages in Southwestern Slovakia

VEGA No. 1/0533/13

Duration: 2013-2015

Principal investigator: Tomáš König

Project goal: Complex evaluation of ceramics and ceramics' production development in south-western Slovakia from early historical period till the Middle Ages. Analysis of chronological position of archaeological contexts and contiguous stratigraphic sequences. Creating of processing model for huge databases of ceramic finds. Publication of project's results in form of voluminous studies and monographs.

Fortified settlements from the Early Bronze Age in Slovakia - centres of production, distribution, exchange, cult and seats of social elite?

VEGA No. 0/0036/13

Duration: 2013-2015

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora

Project results: Continuing excavations within areas of fortified settlements in Rybník and Santovka have brought very important knowledge. In Rybník, in one of the excavated houses was documented a unique situation, which shows evidence of realizing of cult activities directly inside the house. It is suggested that this house belonged to the local shaman. Intentionally damaged animal figurines were found together with one spindle whorl-like clay artifact decorated with engravings resembling the symbol of fertility. Exceptionality of this finding situation is emphasized by the presence of traces of metallurgy such as slag and mould with bronze remains. From ethnological analogies it is known that metallurgists as "substance-creators" performed also shaman rituals. Chemical analysis of Otomani-Füzesabony culture ceramics excavated in above mentioned sites confirmed that it was transported to Santovka from river Tisa region. This find points to the fact that it is necessary to re-evaluate the presence of Otomani-Füzesabony culture material in south-western Slovakia. It attests not only cultural influence and contacts with Maďarovce culture and Transdanubian Encrusted Pottery culture, but also direct physical presence of small groups of its bearers in this region. It was probably the effect of pressure, to which was Northern Tisa region population exposed at the end of Early Bronze Age. The main impulse is seen in steppe people societies occupying regions in Eastern Europe. The best evidence of this is bone arrowhead of eastern-European character.

Yamnaya Impact: Summer School, Archaeological Heritage & Research into European Population History

Visegrad Fund, serial No. 21310348

Duration: 2013-2014

Applicant: Museum of Déri, Debrecen (Hungary)

Partner institutions:

  1. Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava
  2. Archeologické centrum Olomouc (Czech Republic)
  3. Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Oddzial w Krakowie
  4. Hungarian Academy of Sciences Research Centre for the Humanities Institute of Archaeology (Hungary)

Project goal: The main aim is to establish long time cooperation on harmonizing the role, the responsibility and the activity of the provincial museums and to offer chance for practical experience to future professionals in V4 countries. Five partners from the four Visegrad countries aim at sharing their best practices, their experience on different fields of museum activities in order to improve their social image and to develop into competitive European museums of 21st century.

More information can be found at this site.

Preparation of complex publication of archaeological material from polycultural site of Svodín-Busahegy

VEGA No. 1/0924/12

Duration: 2012-2014

Principal investigator: Jana Mellnerová (Šuteková)

Project goals: The main aim of this project is completion of documentation and preparation of materials for complex publication of results of archaeological excavation which took place in 1971-1983 in Svodín, district Nové Zámky. Project covers the first phase of activities leading to the detailed analysis of archaeological and accompanying material. Examined site was settled in different time periods (prehistory, Middle Ages) and represents an important site for solving cultural-chronological relationships overlapping the region of Central Europe. Its importance already confirmed the first finds and publication of chosen finding contexts, mostly published by excavation leader V. Němejcová-Pavúková, who began with systematic processing and analysis of findings. After her death the whole process stopped and until now only the quarter of findings from different periods were published only informatively. Our aim is to make the whole archaeological documentation accessible in a form of an archaeological information system to the broader scientific community.

Montanarchäologische Forschungen im mittelslowakischen Erzgebirge

STO 458/13

Duration: 2012-2013

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora (FiF UK Bratislava, AÚ SAV Nitra) - coordinator on the Slovak side; Thomas Stöllner (University Bochum) - coordinator on the German side

Project results: After the preceding campaign, when was realized an exploration of mine in Poniky, prospection aimed on examination of vast area in Špania Dolina, site Piesky and neighbourhood of Banská Štiavnica. Excavation was realized in Ľubietová, site Podlipa, where mining workings were excavated. The goal of the excavation is to identify and document prehistoric mining of copper ore.

Fidvár bei Vráble - eine Siedlung an der Schnittstelle der alteuropäischen Metallurgieprovinzen. Interkulturelle Dynamik und Umweltveränderungen an einer Landschaftsökologischen Schlüsselregion im östlichen Zentraleuropa

DFG Project No. RA 557/3

Duration: 2011-2016

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora (FiF UK Bratislava, AÚ SAV Nitra) - chief and coordinator on the Slovak side; Knut Rassmann (RGK DAI Frankfurt am Main) - chief and coordinator on the German side. From the German side are also participating 5 scientific and university institutions.

Preliminary project results: Excavation of central settlement of "urban character" in Vráble brought important knowledge not only about construction and interior of Únětice culture houses, but also close junction of back house walls with the fortification. Destructed remains of bulwark showed that its loess-sandy corpus came from the unearthed ditch which lay in front of it. Section showed that it was flat-bottom ditch. This type of ditch, i. e. Solengraben, is characteristic for Únětice culture. To the most impressive finds belongs a bronze triangular dagger, which was found directly inside the house. Fortified settlements were in North-Carpathian region connected with cultures of younger phase of Early Bronze Age (Maďarovce culture, Otomani-Füzesabony culture), which were contemporary with Mycenaean culture. However, circular housing pattern on the site Fidvár in Vráble comes from 2000-1750 BC, which means that it precedes Mycenaean culture in eastern Mediterranean. It suggests that the excavation of the Early Bronze Age fortified settlement in Vráble-Fidvár profoundly changes actual knowledge about direction of cultural influences and contacts between Middle European region and distant cultural zones. It seems that Eurasian part of today's Russia played a key role over there.

Archaeology of colonialism and cultural interactions at the border of Balkan, Anatolia and Aegean. Samothráké Island and its settlement from the Neolithic to Early Iron Age. 

VEGA No. 1/0331/11

Duration: 2011-2013

Principal investigator: Peter Pavúk

Project goals: Samothráké Island provides extraordinary possibility to research the relationship between developed Minoan civilization and so-called barbarian cultures on Balkan Peninsula as well as adjacent Troy or western Anatolia. Besides evaluation of older archaeological excavations, new archaeological research had to be realized. The site alone is famous for the northernmost found seal imprints and evidence of Linear A script usage. One of the key goals was the research of the hybridization of local culture at the end of Middle Bronze Age. Also the older settlement was complexly evaluated and set in the wider context with the help of zooarchaeology, archaeobotany as well as petrographic and chemical analysis of ceramics. Important aspect of this project was also the integration of paleolinguistic research.

Central settlements from the end of the Aeneolithic and the Early Bronze Age in northwestern part of Carpathian Basin and their socio-economic background

VEGA No. 2/0013/10

Duration: 2010-2012

Principal investigator: Jozef Bátora

Project results: Several original results were reached thanks to the systematic excavations at three deliberately chosen fortified settlements. It involves knowledge in two levels: wider, more general and narrower, microscopically aimed. As a result of the first level can be named as pars pro toto unambiguous demonstration of remarkable influence of natural environment on socio-economic life of human population in the Early Bronze Age. It is very well visible in settlement strategy, which took into account not only security, but also economic factor. In the examined period an important role was played by a close vicinity of agricultural land as well as propinquity of ore deposits. It is documented by the fortified settlements of mixed Maďarovce-Transdanubian Encrusted Pottery culture, the bearers of which settled the foothill and slopes of Štiavnické vrchy mountains. This strategy in relation with the concentration of power and wealth made possible the formation of central settlements of "urban character" with large number of population (we suppose, that population of central settlement of Vráble-Fidvár reached in one moment around 1000 inhabitants). In "microscopical" level can be as pars pro named a result of detail documentation of artifacts and building material in combination with soil phosphate analysis, thanks to which it was possible to identify various areas inside the Early Bronze Age house (Rybník). This knowledge exemplarily completed new information gained by excavation of a burnt house in the settlement of Vráble (carbonized construction and wheat supplies stored in wicker baskets were preserved). Gained knowledge belongs to the very first of this character concerning the Bronze Age period in Slovakia.

Problems of genesis and cultural-chronological relationships in Middle European Aeneolithic and during the Early and Middle Bronze Age in Aegean: (1) formation, regional development and fall of Baden culture, (2) position of Aegean islands towards Anatolia and their relationships to the Balkan.

VEGA No. 1/4533/07

Duration: 2007-2009

Principal investigator: Peter Pavúk

Project goals: Project will be dedicated to the research of main problems of the genesis of the Baden culture in relationship to the preceding development on its distribution area. The main goal will be to find out the primary areas of its formation, mechanism and speed (chronology) of spread to the secondary areas as well as re-evaluation of possible contacts with South-Eastern Europe and Aegean. It will be tried to define the cultural relationships of the Late Aeneolithic cultural complex together with its position to the Baden culture and following cultures in the level of chronology, subsistence and geography. The Baden culture used to be connected with Aegean islands, that is why this project will pay attention to the next cultural development in Anatolia and Balkans. The ceramics from Troy, Lesbos, Chios and Metropolis will be processed. We will try to set it to the contemporary cultural development in Greece, central Anatolia and Balkans. The most important part of the whole project will be a focus on chemical and petrographic analysis of pottery as well as an attempt to synchronize 14C dates and sequence of material culture.

Grenzüberschreitende archäologische Phänomene Südeuropas


Duration: 2006-2007

Principal investigator: Peter Pavúk

Project goals: The Aegeo-Balkan Prehistory - to establish an internet platform. Dim-painted ceramics and grey-ceramics of the Bronze and Iron Age (2nd-1st millenium BC) in Greece, Albany, Macedonia, Bulgaria and western Anatolia.