Maria Meszar

PhD student

Department of Geology, University of Vienna

Scientific Background: Sedimentology, Stratigraphy

Maria Meszar

Vienna, with its long history, provides the opportunity to study the growth and change of anthropogenic strata over 2 millennia.

One point of focus in this part of the project is the search for possible geochemical markers associated with anthropogenic influence and their distribution in anthropogenic strata. Trace metals such as copper and lead can be enriched in and around human settlements and thus mark cultural horizons.

The stratigraphic classification of the various sediments found in Vienna is another goal. Common macroscopic marker materials for human influence are, for example, concrete, bricks and plastics. Technofossils and archaeological artefacts provide possible deposition timeframes.

Over time, the distribution of anthropogenic contaminants and technofossils may change, thus recording the growth and evolution of the city.

A "technofossil" (© M. Meszar)


Samples (© M. Meszar)

With the support of the Department of Urban Archaeology (Vienna Museum) and the Municipal Department for Bridge Construction and Foundation Engineering (MA 29) it is possible to obtain samples from archaeological excavations and geological drill cores.
So far over 500 samples have been collected. A handheld XRF device is used for preliminary studies of sediment geochemistry and its trends.

Drill cores

Drill cores (© M. Meszar)