How researchers look at Lake Hallstatt 11,500 years in the past

Deep in the past

The multidisciplinary research team on Kerstin Kowarik from Vienna’s Natural History Museum (NHM) wanted to delve more into the past. “That’s why we’re here today,” says geologist Strasser, laughing. With good reason: After all, he and his team have successfully drilled 51 meters deep. “Everything indicates that we have opened an archive dating back 11,500 years.” It is an unprecedented look back at the climate, environment and geology of the region.

Hallstatt is the perfect location

This is very exciting for Kovar because she wants to know “how people relate to their environment and how they affect it.” The motto is to learn from the past, how to do a good job and, above all, sustainably in the future. “And Hallstatt is the perfect place for that. Since ancient times, people here have interfered with the landscape, driving tunnels and halls deep into the mountain for thousands of years leaving behind everything they no longer needed. Just like us today, they did things that left their mark.”

1,200 kilograms of salt a day had to be transported away. I calculated that the salt caravans were likely to move south and north every day, animals ran over the lanes, needed food, tools had to be made, and trees had to be cut down. “All of these activities leave their imprint on the environment.”

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