A Middle Pleistocene steppe bison find within the Dürnstein Castle (Wachau, Lower Austria)

Florian Fladerer, Reinhard Roetzel, Kristof Veitschegger

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


In the course of foundation works in the Durnstein Castle cervical and front leg bones of a large Bison priscus bull were discovered in fluvial sediments. The small city of Durnstein with its medieval centre is part of the UNESCO Wachau Cultural Landscape and is built mainly on Palaeozoic basement rocks. The find location is completely overbuilt, but remnants of fluvial sediments on the bones together with the altitude of the site approximately 17 m above the Danube point to a Middle Pleistocene fluvial aggradation level not younger than ca. 240,000 years, and the maximum age is 400,000 years. The fossil bearing location is interpreted as a small sandy bay of the Pleistocene Danube, protected from later degradation and erosion. Morphometric comparisons and taphonomic analyses of the bones allow the reconstruction of a scenario in which the bison probably had drowned in a flood and its carcass was buried quickly before destruction by scavengers or erosion. The study includes a comparison with bison specimens of an unpublished small megafaunal assemblage from adjacent Krems-Kreuzbergstra beta e. Processing marks on parts of these bones point to an anthropogenic Middle Palaeolithic influence and translocation. In addition, a tentative chronological sketch of the regional Bison species succession (B. menneri, B. schoetensacki, B. priscus) from the Early to the Late Pleistocene is presented.

Seiten (von - bis)237-250
FachzeitschriftAustrian Journal of Earth Sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020

ÖFOS 2012

  • 106056 Biologische Anthropologie
  • 105123 Stratigraphie
  • 105118 Paläontologie