Two new JMA Chairs: Charlotte Damm and Tim Kohler


Charlotte Brysting Damm and Tim Kohler recently joined the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS as JMA Chairs. We are proud to introduce them to you and we look forward to their JMA tenure at Kiel. Welcome!
Charlotte Brysting Damm is the holder of an JMA chair of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS for the next four months until Christmas, 2021. She is a professor of archaeology at the Department of Archaeology, History, Religious Studies and Theology at the Arctic University of Norway, located in Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle.


Born in Denmark, Charlotte first studied archaeology at Aarhus University. She then completed a Master of Philosophy Degree (MPhil) in ethnoarchaeology and a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge, UK. Since 1990, she has worked in northern Norway, apart from two years at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  
While her PhD focused on the complex multicultural situation in Middle Neolithic Denmark, most of her later research has concentrated on northern hunter-gatherers. Although the majority of her published work concentrates on northern Fennoscandia, she has also done fieldwork in New Zealand, Botswana and Greenland and visited foraging groups in northern Thailand.
Charlotte’s main interests focus on the intersection between archaeology and anthropology, including past identities, multicultural and interregional interaction, rituals and cosmology as well issues relating to indigenous archaeology. She has led a multidisciplinary research group on early networking in northern Fennoscandia at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo and is currently a PI for a project on Stone Age Demographics. While in Kiel, Charlotte will collaborate with colleagues in ROOTS and in particular with the subcluster Knowledge (link) in order to explore new avenues to address issues in hunter-gatherer archaeology.



Tim Kohler is a holder of the JMA chair of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS for the next three months until Dec. 1, 2021. He comes from the USA, where he is a Regents Professor (emeritus) in Anthropology (archaeology) at Washington State University in Pullman. He is also an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute and a member of the ROOTS Scientific Advisory Board.

Tim while revisiting his University of Florida PhD alma mater on the occasion of an invited lecture

Tim while revisiting his University of Florida PhD alma mater on the occasion of an invited lecture (photo by: Tim Kohler, 2021).

Tim’s research has mostly centered on the US Southwest where he directed the Village Ecodynamics Project for almost two decades (link). This project has looked at many processes also central to various subclusters in ROOTS, including Inequalities, Conflict, Knowledge, and Socio-environmental Hazards. While in Kiel though he will be concentrating mainly on interacting with the ROOTS of Inequalities subcluster (link). One of his activities will be to set up a meeting for a project that has been recently funded by the US National Science Foundation, called ‘The creation and division of wealth and the long-term consequences of inequality: views from archaeology.” The first meeting for this project will be held at Oxford in November and Tim Kohler will be accompanied there by Tim Kerig, who will be representing the ROOTS subcluster on Inequalities. While in Kiel Tim will also be working on ways to formalize approaches to causation in archaeology, using in particular the rich datasets generated by the Village Ecodynamics Project on the relationships through time among population size, climate, wealth inequality, and violence in northern Pueblo societies.  
Another project in progress while he is here is editing a special issue of the Journal of Social Computing on a topic that overlaps with the ROOTS subcluster on Knowledge: “Evolution of Collective Computational Abilities of (Pre)Historic Societies.” Tim is lead author on the article introducing the issue, which will also include an article by ROOTS Speaker Johannes Müller on “Tripolye mega-sites: Collective Computational Abilities of prehistoric proto-urban societies.”
Finally, as time permits around these other activities, Tim is looking forward to getting to know as much as he can about the rich archaeology and history of the Schleswig-Holstein!

Tim Kohlerwith some other members of the Village Project’s Community Center Survey, in Mesa Verde National ParkTim Kohler (right) with some other members of the Village Project’s Community Center Survey, in Mesa Verde National Park (photo by: Tim Kohler, 2021)

Past, Present, Future: Archaeological Climate Summit in Kiel

The condition of sediments informs about environmental developments and human influencesThe condition of sediments informs about environmental developments and human influences (Belauer See, Germany; Photo: W. Dörfler).

In order to discuss the global state of research on social archaeology and climate change, the Summit on Social Archaeology of Climate Change (SACC) will take place at Kiel University in Germany on 6 September 2021. The meeting is linked to the Kiel Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), which will be organized this year from 6–11 September by the Johanna Mestorf Academy in a virtual format.

“The global consequences of climate change are omnipresent and have long since ceased to be a problem of the distant future” Kiel archaeologist Johannes Mueller and initiator of the summit explains. “However, the current discussion about the socio-ecological consequences of climate change often lacks a consideration of (pre)historical climate events and how the population of the time dealt with them. Yet, with the help of archaeological research, important lessons from these (pre)historical events can be used to better understand current transformation processes and build societal resilience” he adds.

The aim of the summit is to bring together international scientists and representatives of important international organisations in the fields of archaeology and heritage management to discuss and evaluate the contribution of archaeological research to understand the link between social, cultural, ecological and climatic change. The meeting will take place in the context of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and subsequent national and international strategies and initiatives.

Peter Biehl from the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has launched the initiative together with Johannes Mueller points out “The aim is to highlight how archaeology, through the study of past adaptive behaviour, is able to enhance socio-ecological resilience of societies as well as their adaptive capacity to current climate change.” Furthermore, contributing to the understanding of the impact of climate change on archaeological and heritage sites as well as on cultural landscapes, museums, collections, and archives is also an important aspect of the meeting. The results of the summit will subsequently be summarised and published in the form of a declaration on the state of archaeological heritage and research effected by climate change.

Archaeological excavations worldwide like in Sultana, Romania, document the state of societies and the environment over millenniaArchaeological excavations worldwide like in Sultana, Romania, document the state of societies and the environment over millennia (photo: J. Müller).


The Wadden Sea like many of the world's landscapes, including their archaeological heritage, are extremely vulnerable to climate changeThe Wadden Sea like many of the world's landscapes, including their archaeological heritage, are extremely vulnerable to climate change (photo: T. Willershäuser, JGU Mainz).


Drilling lake sediments as part of an excavation opens up archives of environmental history
Drilling lake sediments as part of an excavation opens up archives of environmental history (Sultana, Romania; Photo: J. Müller).


Find the German version here

Scientific contact:
Johannes Mueller (Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology)
Peter Biehl (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)

Press contact:
Angelika Hoffmann (Research focus officer SECC/JMA)

ROOTS presents at the 75 Jahre Schleswig-Holstein Celebrations 


ROOTS Presents

On Sunday August 22, Schleswig-Holstein celebrated its 75th anniversary with a civic festival and an official ceremony at Gottorf Castle. The Cluster of Excellence ROOTS was also present and was represented by the archaeo:lab of the Kiel Research Workshop (Katrin Schöps) and the ZBSA (Ilka Rau). It was important for us to demonstrate the connection between ROOTS research and the public outreach activities based on it. For this purpose, there were also two hands-on activities on the topics of ceramics and landscape history. We got into conversation with many interested citizens about this and even our prime minister, Daniel Günther, took the time to inform himself about our offers for pupils and the general public.

ROOTS - two hands-on activities on the topics of ceramics and landscape history

prime minister, Daniel Günther, took the time to inform himself about our offers for pupils and the general public

Michaela Ecker granted with a prestigious DFG Emily Noether Project


Landscape in the southern Kalahari near Tsabong in Botswana. Stone artefacts are visible in the foreground of the image (photo: Michael Ecker).
Landscape in the southern Kalahari near Tsabong in Botswana. Stone artefacts are visible in the foreground of the image. (photo: Michael Ecker)

On the Trail of Human Development in the Kalahari. In the framework of a newly approved DFG project, the member of ROOTS, Michaela Ecker, investigates the influence of climate change on the evolution of modern humans in Africa.
That Africa is the cradle of humankind is meanwhile scientifically proven. Fossil finds date the presence of Homo sapiens, today’s humans, to ca. 300,000 years before our time. However, much is still unexplained for the early phase of human development. What influence did climate change have on human development and what role did it play in the emergence of Homo sapiens as the only surviving species among many?

In order to get to the bottom of these questions, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has granted the archaeologist Dr. Michaela Ecker, of the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University, and member of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, 1.3 million Euros for the next six years. The funding is provided in the framework of the Emmy Noether Program, which enables outstanding young scientists to qualify for a professorship at an early stage by leading their own working group.
The evolution of humans in Africa is closely linked to environmental and landscape changes. “However, there is hardly any environmental data from terrestrial archives in Southern Africa, in order to understand the influence of this climate change on the biological and cultural evolution of Homo sapiens,” explains Ecker. The project “Kgalagadi Human Origins” begins here and focuses on reconstructions of past climate and environmental conditions at the investigated archaeological sites in the southern Kalahari basin within the border region of Botswana and South Africa.

“In this context, we are concentrating on the time period between 800,000 and 400,000 years before today,” states Ecker. “This was a time of extreme climate change, which is characterised by an increase in the number and intensity of glacial-interglacial climatic phases, i.e. cold and warm periods.”
In close cooperation with archaeologists from Botswana and South Africa as well as international experts from the USA and Great Britain, Ecker reconstructs changes in the flora and the seasonality of precipitation, which have led to the current very dry environment. “The results of this project contribute to our knowledge about human-environmental adaptations in times of severe climate change,” says Ecker.
The new interdisciplinary Emmy Noether group is networked with several institutes of Kiel University. Ecker works together with scientists from the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, the Institute of Geosciences, the Institute for Ecosystem Research, and the Leibniz-Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research.

The project officially commenced on June 1st, 2021. The first field campaign is planned for this year, providing that the COVID-19 circumstances permit it.
Congratulations Michaela!


Prähistorisches Steinartefakt aus der südlichen Kalahari-Solche von unseren Vorfahren bearbeiteten Steine lassen sich dort auf der Erdoberfläche finden
Prähistorisches Steinartefakt aus der südlichen Kalahari. Solche von unseren Vorfahren bearbeiteten Steine lassen sich dort auf der Erdoberfläche finden. (photo: Michael Ecker)


Das trockene Flussbett des Molopo-Flusses. Die Feldarbeiten konzentrieren sich insbesondere auf saisonale, heute meist komplett trocken liegende Flüsse und Seen (Michael Ecker)
Das trockene Flussbett des Molopo-Flusses. Die Feldarbeiten konzentrieren sich insbesondere auf saisonale, heute meist komplett trocken liegende Flüsse und Seen. (photo: Michael Ecker)
The original press release in German and English can be found here
Project homepage

Sultana at the start - excavation 2021


The CRC 1266 is digging in Wallachia. Together with project partners in Bucharest, a six-week excavation has been taking place since mid-July. The team of about 50 people is digging in the settlement mound (ca. 4500-4100 BCE) with rich remains of the world's oldest metallurgical societies, the associated burial ground, a large building near the tell and in a Neolithic Boian predecessor settlement. A deep borehole was drilled with the Usinger drill to obtain a pollen and sediment profile in the nearby lake. In the settlement mound itself, the scientists have now identified four settlement horizons and a fortification accumulated over the last 200 years of settlement. They record the collapse of the Copper Age community there when mega-settlements are beginning in Tripolje. The excavation results will undoubtedly contribute to the correlation of the processes between the Balkans and the steppe and improve the social, environmental and technical historical reconstruction of the transformation ca. 4200/4100 BCE. 
Interdisciplinary teams from environmental archaeology and geophysics are involved alongside archaeologists. Project partners on-site are the University of Bucharest and various museums, plus the Technical University of Ghent. The excavation team is multilingual (Romanian, German, Italian, English, French, Ukrainian, Russian, Dutch ...), contributing to European commonality.

Drilling on the Sultana Lake for a core
Fig. 1: Drilling on the Sultana Lake for a core (photo: J. Müller) 


Excavation in one trench on the settlement mound SultanaFig. 2: Excavation in one trench on the settlement mound Sultana (photo: J. Müller) 


Use of industrial vacuum cleaners on the excavation Fig. 3: Use of industrial vacuum cleaners on the excavation (photo: J. Müller) 


Excavation of a chalcolithic burial Fig. 4: Excavation of a chalcolithic burial (photo: J. Müller)


Kiel University press release

Educational film on bucket flotation for archaeobotanical investigations: Black Gold


Black Diamonds. Educational film on bucket flotation for archaeobotanical investigations:youtube
Black GoldAs a by-product of research on social and agricultural transformations in the Late Bronze Age archaeobotanist Wiebke Kirleis together with her team has produced an educational film documenting archaeobotanical sample preparation. 

The 11 minute short film shows the individual steps that each archaeobotanical sample has to go through - step by step and meticulously explained, understandable for pros and laymen alike. The advantage of bucket flotation presented here is that samples can be mudded near the excavation site - even in extremely shallow waters.  Another advantage: instead of a 10-litre bucket full of sediment, only a sample bag with a sip of water needs to be brought to the lab. At the Institute for Prehistory and Protohistory, the samples are washed, dried, and eventuelly sorted and determined under the binocular microscope. 

Educational film on bucket flotation for archaeobotanical investigations: Black Gold 

With this educational film, there is a digital format is available that can be used to prepare practical archaeobotanical exercises and archaeological excavations at universities, and can also be used for museum education and in the archaeo:lab.  


The search for old plant remains, i.e. archaeobotanical analyses, allows us to decipher the diet of the time and make statements about agriculture. In this case, the cooperation between archaeologists and archaeobotanists expands the knowledge about an archaeological site and the living conditions and makes it possible to understand how everyday life was organised at that time. 


The film which comes in a German and an English version was made during an excavation in Dobbin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) under the direction of Jutta Kneisel.
Watch the video on the Kiel University You Tube channel: 
 English version:
German version:

Plague case 5000 years ago in Latvia: No evidence of an epidemic at the time


A research team from Kiel University in Germany has found new clues to the evolution of the pathogen, based on DNA from a 5000-year-old plague case. Plague case 5000 years ago in Latvia: No evidence of an epidemic at the time

The plague, which caused a pandemic in the late Middle Ages, leading to an estimated 25 million deaths worldwide known as the "Black Death", is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), which occurs especially in rodents and can be transmitted to humans by fleas as well as from person to person. Recent studies have shown that the pathogen already infected humans much earlier, but how exactly it evolved, and when it became dangerous for humans are the subject of current scientific research. A team from Kiel University (CAU), in collaboration with the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA), Schloss Gottorf, and the Institute of Latvian History of the Latvian University of Riga (LVI), has now discovered the genome of the plague pathogen in the remains of a man who lived in what is today Latvia around 5000 years ago. The analyses provide insight into the very early stages of the evolution of Y. pestis. Contrary to what was previously assumed, the results show that the bacteria already infected people at the beginning of the Neolithic Period, but probably had only a limited potential for infection, so that they could not yet spread in epidemic proportions. The team published their results today in the scientific journal Cell Reports

Skull bones of the man who was buried in Riņņukalns, Latvia, around 5000 years ago. The research team has discovered the plague pathogen in these bones.
Skull bones of the man who was buried in Riņņukalns, Latvia, around 5000 years ago. The research team has discovered the plague pathogen in these bones.

The researchers examined the remains of four individuals who were all buried in the same place in Riņņukalns, Latvia, around 5000 years ago. "Previously, little was known about the hunter-fisher-gatherers who lived in north-eastern Europe at the time, and about their exposure to infectious diseases," explained coordinating author Professor Ben Krause-Kyora, biochemist and archaeologist at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB) at the CAU and member of the Clusters of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI), "ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies“ as well as in the Collaborative Research Centre 1266 „Scales of Transformation“ (CRC 1266). Using special analysis methods established in Kiel, the team investigated the ancient DNA from the human remains, such as teeth and bones, for bacterial and viral pathogens. They identified parts of the genome of Y. pestis, the plague pathogen, in a male individual.

Since after so many years the DNA in the bones is only present in small pieces, the scientists had to reassemble the genome of the bacterium from the individual fragments. They analyzed the reconstructed genome along with genetic information from more recent plague strains to find out where the Latvian strain comes from, and how and when it evolved. They dated the origin of this pathogen strain to the beginning of the Neolithic Period around 7000 years ago. The strain investigated is thus the earliest to date in the evolution of the plague pathogen. "Our estimate is around 1000 years earlier than previously assumed," said co-initiator Dr. Harald Lübke, researcher at the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Schloss Gottorf, and member of the CRC 1266. 

The Ancient DNA Lab which is the specialized laboratory for ancient DNA, is part of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University (CAU). Its core is the cleanroom, which is needed to process the tiny amounts of highly degraded DNA that are typically found in ancient skeletal remains.
The Ancient DNA Lab which is the specialized laboratory for ancient DNA, is part of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University (CAU). Its core is the cleanroom, which is needed to process the tiny amounts of highly degraded DNA that are typically found in ancient skeletal remains.

The starting point for the work was the scientific assumption that plague epidemics did already occur during the Neolithic Period. "We were looking for factors that enable pathogens to trigger epidemics in general. We wanted to investigate this in more detail, based on the plague pathogen," explained Krause-Kyora. "However, contrary to expectations, our data does not support the previous hypothesis of a pneumonic plague pandemic during this period. In contrast, our analyses suggest that this very early form of the plague pathogen was probably less transmissible, and possibly also less virulent, than later strains," added Krause-Kyora. Rather, the geographical and temporal distribution of the few prehistoric plague cases reported so far suggests individual so-called zoonoses, i.e., infections in which the pathogen was passed directly from animals to humans. The pathogen only later developed the potential to trigger an epidemic or even a global pandemic. "From an archaeological perspective, this finding is important because it suggests that infections with the plague bacterium did not lead to large-scale transformative social or political changes in the Neolithic," said Professor Johannes Müller, spokesperson of the CRC 1266, the ROOTS Cluster of Excellence, and director of the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory at Kiel University.

"The results contribute also to a better understanding of how zoonoses have arisen and continue to arise, and how this in turn can develop into epidemics and pandemics," said Professor Stefan Schreiber, spokesperson of the Cluster of Excellence PMI, director of the IKMB and also director of the Department of Internal Medicine I at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel.

Research into ancient human DNA and old pathogens in general can also provide more information about modern diseases, such as chronic inflammatory diseases. While infections were a major challenge to the human immune system in the past millennia, due to living conditions such as hygiene and nutrition, nowadays it is more common for a dysregulated immune system to cause chronic inflammations. There could very well be an evolutionary link between the two aspects. "We can better understand modern diseases of the immune system and their origins, if we know more about the pathogens that used to be particularly challenging for the human immune system. Therefore, their research has long been an important focus in the Cluster of Excellence PMI," said Schreiber. 
The Riņņukalns site, a Stone Age shell midden on the banks of the Salaca River near the outflow from Lake Burtniek.

The Riņņukalns site, a Stone Age shell midden on the banks of the Salaca River near the outflow from Lake Burtniek.

Original publication:  
Susat et al.: A 5,000-year-old hunter-gatherer already plagued by Yersinia pestis.Cell Reports (2021)
Kiel University press release


  1. Jawbone of the man who was buried in Riņņukalns, Latvia, around 5000 years ago. The research team has discovered the DNA of the plague-causing pathogen in this material.

Adjunct Professorship for Quantitative Archaeology at Kiel University (CAU)


Dr. Oliver NakoinzThe Kiel archaeologist, Dr. Oliver Nakoinz, has been appointed to an adjunct professorship for quantitative archaeology at KielUniversity (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel). In addition to his merits in archaeological research and teaching, his international reputation in the field of spatial-statistical archaeology was particularly decisive for the appointment.

As a scientist in the Johanna Mestorf Academy of the Kiel Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Nakoinz is responsible for numerous projects. Among other things, his ground-breaking studies on spatial communication patterns in Celtic Southern Germany, which deal with the formation and networking of fortified Iron Age settlements, are to be ighlighted. In addition, he heads the Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) as well as a modelling project in the Kiel Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1266 and, together with the University of Cambridge, a CRC project on the interaction between Northern Italy, Southern Germany and Northern Germany in the 1st millennium BCE. The renowned book series “Quantitative Archaeology and Archaeological Modelling”, published by Springer, was developed by Nakoinz. “The appointment as an adjunct professor of quantitative archaeology strengthens the development of this research area”, remarks Nakoinz happily. Quantitative archaeology addresses the structures, which are more or less concealed in archaeological data. These structures are made visible with mathematical and statistical concepts and, together with archaeological theories, generate new knowledge about the past. 

One area of quantitative archaeology is pathway research. In this context, terrain data is used to calculate how a route between two locations should be theoretically conceived. “If you compare these theoretical paths with empirical evidence, such as burial mounds that can indicate paths, you can validate how well different models are adapted to reality. From this, one can infer which aspects were considered in prehistory when selecting a route,” explains Nakoinz. The models can convey the meaning of the empirical results. “This enables us to more easily understand why people in prehistory acted in a certain way,” explains the archaeologist. 

For decades, quantitative archaeology has been implemented at Kiel University and, in the meantime, Kiel has developed into a leading location in this field, which is reflected, among other things, in the Initiative for Statistical Analysis in Archaeology Kiel (ISAAK) and in the newly founded Center for Interdisciplinary Data Science (CIDS). The participation of quantitative archaeology was also decisive for the approval of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and the SFB 1266, two scientific collaborative research projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). 

Scientific contact:
Prof. Dr. Oliver Nakoinz Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology
Kiel University Germany
+49 431 880 5465
Kiel University press release

Former World Football Player Lothar Matthäus quizzes on archaeological topics


Former World Football Player Lothar Matthäus quizzes on archaeological topics

In the well-known ARD quiz show "Wer weiß denn sowas?", broadcast on 6 January 2021, former world football player Lothar Matthäus, together with his quiz partner Bernhard Hoëcker and despite the support of telephone joker Dominik Hoffmann, failed on the following question:

Due to the brain's tendency, known in psychology, to direct its own attention to the left rather than to the right, ...?

  • A - the first violins have been sitting to the left of the conductor since the 19th century.
  • B - in the Stone Age, new settlements were built slightly rotated to the left.
  • C - the right side of paintings was darker in the Romantic period.

They agreed on A as the right answer. But the correct answer is, of course, B! The question refers to recently published results of CRC 1266-subproject C2 . It was shown, that newly built houses in Neolithic settlements of the Linearbandkeramik are slightly rotated to the left in the longitudinal direction compared to the previous house generation. We relate this to the effect known as pseudoneglect, which favours the left visual field over the right.

By the way, Lothar Matthäus and his teammates could have justifiably objected as the wording is not quite correct: It is not the settlements that are built slightly rotated, it is the houses.

Anyway, we are excited to see how quickly our scientific results have been transferred into everyday knowledge.

Original publication:   
Müller-Scheeßel, N., Müller, J., Cheben, I., Mainusch, W., Rassmann, K., Rabbel, W., Corradini, E. and Furholt, M. (2020). A new approach to the temporal significance of house orientations in European Early Neolithic settlements. PLOS ONE 15: e0226082. ·
The publication is available online for free.

Neue Ausgrabungen auf Deutschlands ältestem Gräberfeld


BockausgrabungBlockbergungen werden im Labor freigelegt und untersucht

Vom 10. bis 21. August 2020 konnten die wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen auf dem bekannten mittelsteinzeitlichen Bestattungsplatz von Groß Fredenwalde in der Uckermark erfolgreich fortgesetzt werden. Ein kleines Team um Grabungsleiter Dr. Andreas Kotula und Anthropologin Dr. Bettina Jungklaus von der Universität Göttingen konnte eine weitere, über 8000 Jahre alte Bestattung der Ur-Brandenburger auf dem Weinberg freilegen. Im Grab, das bereits durch die moderne Landnutzung beschädigt war, befanden sich die wesentlichen Teile eines Skeletts.

Prof. Dr. Franz Schopper, Landesarchäologe Brandenburgs, machte sich persönlich ein Bild von dem außergewöhnlichen Fund. Mit den Projektpartnern Prof. Dr. Henny Piezonka (Universität Kiel) und Prof. Dr. Thomas Terberger (Universität Göttingen) ist er sich einig, dass der älteste Friedhof Deutschlands noch wichtige Überraschungen bereithält. Um die Bestattung unter optimalen Bedingungen weiter untersuchen zu können, wurde sie im Block geborgen.

Im Labor der Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW) wird die Freilegung des Blockes erfolgen. Parallel dazu wird auch der im Juni 2019 geborgene Block bearbeitet, dessen für das Frühjahr 2020 geplante Untersuchung aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie bisher nicht ausgeführt werden konnte. Proben aus den menschlichen Gebeinen von Groß Fredenwalde werden derzeit am Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena auf alte DNA untersucht. Die Ergebnisse werden Anfang nächsten Jahres erwartet.

Der auf dem Weinberg gelegene Fundplatz in Groß Fredenwalde (Uckermark) ist seit 1962 bekannt. Bei Nachgrabungen wurden bislang bis zu fünf Gräber mit zehn Individuen verzeichnet. Die Datierung der Gräber reicht von ca. 6400 bis 4900 v. Chr. Im Jahr 2014 wurde dort die älteste Säuglingsbestattung Deutschlands entdeckt. Das von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) geförderte Projekt liefert wichtige Erkenntnisse für den Übergang von der Mittelsteinzeit mit ihren nicht sesshaften Kulturen zur Jungsteinzeit mit Ackerbau und Viehzucht.

What was inside? Lipid residue analysis on grave gifts manifest the ritual status of cattle in Neolithic societies in Northern Germany.

March 20, 2019

GrabbeigabenIn the 4th millennium BC, domestic animal husbandry became an integral part of the Neolithic economy in the North German lowlands and southern Scandinavia. An increasing importance of domesticated animals as well as a concentration on the husbandry of certain animal species can be observed. At the same time, this phenomenon is linked to changing intensities of land-use strategies, and the increasing importance of domestic animal husbandry is also changing social practices within societies.
Lipid analyses by the CRC 1266 on highly decorated and ornamented ceramic vessels from a passage grave (Wangels LA 69) of the Funnel Beaker societies revealed that these vessels contained predominantly cattle fat and dairy products. Additionally, a fatty acid distribution indicative for Sea Buckthorn oil was found in samples from Globular Amphora, which have served as an exclusive burial gift. Contrary, the pots from the contemporaneous domestic site Oldenburg-Dannau LA 77 contained a mixed composition of plant and milk resources. Thus, the exclusive use of cattle meat in the burial indicate the important role of cattle in the ritual and spiritual sphere of Neolithic societies in northern Germany and Southern Scandinavia.

Weber, J., Brozio, J. P., Mller, J., Schwark, L. 2020. Grave gifts manifest the ritual status of cattle in Neolithic societies of northern Germany. Journal of Archaeological Science 117, 105122.

Kiel University press release


Nature scientific reports: New study on genetic composition in Cucuteni-Trypillia complex

6 March, 2020

Maidanetske ReconstructionA new study conducted within the CRC 1266 shows that the genetic steppe component arrived in eastern Europe farming communities as early as 3500 BCE. Genome-wide data generated from the skeletal remains of four females excavated from two Cucuteni-Tripyllia sites in Modova are consistent with the hypothesis of ongoing contacts and only gradual admixture between incoming steppe and local western populations. Overall, the different genetic makeup of the CTC individuals indicates a relatively high diversity, which is surprising given that they all dated to the same Late CTC period. The finding suggests population dynamics also within a culture.

Immel, A., Terna, S., Simalcsik, A. et al. Gene-flow from steppe individuals into Cucuteni-Trypillia associated populations indicates long-standing contacts and gradual admixture. Sci Rep 10, 4253 (2020).


EAA 21 is coming to Kiel!

26 March 2020

Signing of MOU in PragueGood news: The 27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) will take place in Kiel from 8-11 September 2021. On 26 March the Memorandum of Understanding between the EAA and the JMA was signed in Prague by Felipe Criado-Boado, president of the EAA,  and Johannes Müller, speaker of the JMA.
European Association of Archaeologists

Shanghai Archaeological Forum:

14 December 2019

SAF AwardFor the fourth time, the Shanghai Archaeology Forum (SAF) awarded prizes to international researchers in various categories for outstanding achievements in archaeology. One of the 10 prizes in the category of “Excellent Research” for the year 2019 was awarded to Johannes Müller for his research on "Boom and bust, hierarchy and balance: From landscape to social meaning – Megaliths and societies in Northern Central Europe“ (Priority Programme DFG-SPP 1400 "Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation").

Further information:

Kiel University press release (in German)
Shanghai Archaeological Forum

Urban ROOTS: Lecture Series

20 October 2019

Bridging the gap: Urbanity between past and present

Bild Bridging the GapThe lecture series brings together both historical and modern perspectives on the roots of contemporary urbanity in past societies. In each session, two talks followed by a panel discussion address and discuss one of the various topics of historical and modern urbanity, as, for example, infrastructural challenges of urban communities, urban lifestyles, urban planning, as well as aspects of migration, housing or religion.

First Lecture: The lecture series opens on 22 October 2019, 6:15 p.m.
Location: Kiel University, CAP 2 (Audimax) / Hörsaal A (on 29 October at Hörsaal C!!)

Everyone who is interested in this topic is warmly welcome to join the lecture series.

Please note that the lecture series will be held in German with the exception of the lectures on 12 November 2019, which will be held in English.

Download Progamme here
Download Poster here


The proceedings of the Kiel conference “Megaliths - Societies – Landscapes” has just been published

Megaliths_CoverThe 5th and 4th Millennia BCE saw the emergence of monumental architecture in Neolithic and Chalcolithic contexts throughout different parts of Europe. Current research implements a set of diverse methodologies and produces multilayered interpretations in order to create multi-faceted narratives on this phenomenon.

The international conference “Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe” brought together researchers working in various regions and contexts, thus providing an up-to-date perspective on prehistoric monumental architecture. In addition, the conference provided an opportunity to present the results of the DFG-Priority Program 1400 “Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation. On the origin and development of Neolithic large-scale buildings and the emergence of early complex societies in Northern Central Europe”, which focused on the appearance of monumentality in the context of Neolithic Funnel Beaker communities. 

The proceedings resulting from this conference cover topics, such as monuments made of stone, wood and earth, as well as interpretative aspects, including the importance of monumentality for landscape construction and the social significance of monumentality. Wide-ranging case studies with a continental scope illustrate the manifold implications and manifestations of monumentality. They also demonstrate the need for holistic approaches and the integration of diverse data sets in order to understand a phenomenon of such complexity. Furthermore, ethno-archaeological studies on megaliths from other continents were also integrated to reach a wider understanding of varying forms of monumentality.

The conference proceedings show that the construction of monuments may have been driven by very different factors and was embedded in diverse contexts of social organisation, thus being a highly variable and transformative phenomenon.

Reference: Müller, J., Hinz, M., Wunderlich, M. (eds.), 2019. Megaliths Societies Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe. Volume 1-3. Proceedings of the international conference »Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe«, 16th–20th June 2015 in Kiel. Frühe Monumentalität und soziale Differenzierung 18, 1–3. Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn.  ISBN 978-3-7749-4213-4 

DAI Travel Grant for GSHDL Alumna Veronika Egetenmeyr

Veronika EgetenmeyrGraduate School alumna Veronika Egetenmeyr has been awarded a travel grant (Reisestipendium) by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). Since 1859, the DAI travel grant is awarded to young researchers with an exceptional PhD thesis. Veronika Egetenmeyr successfully defended her doctoral research on “Die Konstruktion der ,Anderen‘: Barbarenbilder in den Briefen des Sidonius Apollinaris” in Kiel in November 2018 and has now received this prestigious fellowship for her work.

The DAI travel grant aims to promote young scholars in archaeology and related disciplines. It funds extended stay abroad, enabling grant holders to acquire in-depth knowledge of the countries they visit and their archaeological sites, monuments, and museum collections. The DAI Reisestipendium will offer Veronika Egetenmeyr the opportunity to visit regions of the “classical” Mediterranean World. “I am very excited about the news!” she states, “Thanks to this travel grant I will be able to study the antique remains and visit sites and monuments from different periods in Greece, the Balkans, Italy, France, Spain and Tunisia. Due to my new research focus on Roman Africa, Tunisia is of special interest and it will be where my journey will begin.” This travel grant will enable Veronika to shape innovative directions of her future research projects.

Among the previous holders of the DAI travel grant are GSHDL members Johannes Müller (1991), Annette Haug (2004), Martin Tombrägel (2005), Martin Furholt (2007), Stefan Feuser (2009), Philipp Kobusch (2011), and Julia Menne (2017). The privately funded Wülfing fellowship has recently been awarded by the DAI to GSHDL alumni Torben Keßler (2014) and Natalia Toma-Kansteiner (2016).

Veronika Egetenmeyer short vita: Veronika Egentenmeyr studied Ancient History, Pre-and Protohistoric Archaeology and Medieval and Modern History at Heidelberg University, where she completed her MA studies in 2014, after a stay abroad at the Università degli Studi di Firenze. She moved to Kiel for her PhD research, which she completed in November 2018. Thanks to a DAAD-fellowship and the support of the GSHDL she also spent a research period at the Universitè Bordeaux Montaigne III. She currently holds a research assistant position at the Historical Institute of the University of Greifswald.

Early seafaring: Sicily later populated as previously thought

Di Maida SicilyIt is a complex archaeological task to prove when and where our ancestors crossed the seas. So far, it has been suggested that people belonging to the Paleolithic culture of the Aurignacian Mountains (ca. 38,000 to 29,000 BC) were the first one who crossed the Strait of Messina between the Italian mainland and Sicily.

A study conducted by a team of international scientists from various disciplines has re-examined the site and performed radiocarbon dating on plant remains and human teeth. Gianpiero Di Maida of the Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes" and Professor Ben Krause Kyora of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University (Kiel University), refute the previous theory of colonization history in Sicily: The age determined by the dates is between 7960 and 6530 BC, much later than previously assumed, thus assigning the finds to the Holocene. It seems that Fontana Nuova was inhabited not by Paleolithic but by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

press release (in German) 

Original publication: Di Maida G., Mannino M.A., Krause-Kyora B., Jensen T.Z.T., Talamo S. (2019) Radiocarbon dating and isotope analysis on the purported Aurignacian skeletal remains from Fontana Nuova (Ragusa, Italy). PLoS ONE 14(3): e0213173.


Socio-Environmental Dynamics along the Historical Silk Road

March 21, 2019

Cover_SilkThe edited volume ‘Socio-Environmental Dynamics along the Historical Silk Road’ discusses socio-environmental interactions in the middle to late Holocene, covering specific areas along the ancient Silk Road regions. The 22 chapters provide insight into this topic from various disciplinary angles and perspectives, ranging from archaeology, paleoclimatology, antiquity, historical geography, agriculture, carving art and literacy. Versions of most of the chapters were initially prepared for the international workshop entitled “The Rise and Fall: Environmental Factors in the Socio-Cultural Changes of the Ancient Silk Road Area”, which was convened by the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ (GSHDL) at Kiel University during September 27-28, 2017.

The Silk Road is a modern concept for an ancient network of trade routes that for centuries facilitated and intensified processes of cultural interaction and goods exchange between West China, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Coherent patterns and synchronous events in history suggest possible links between social upheaval, resource utilization and climate or environment forces along the Silk Road and in a broader area.

Studies in the volume indicate both that climate conditions significantly influence human socio-cultural systems and that the socio-culture systems are certainly resilient to climate impacts. The cross-cutting theme has been to reach beyond simple explanations of environmental or human determinism, but social resilience under environmental impacts.

Both the workshop and the volume were jointly sponsored by the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ at the Kiel University (GSC 208/2) and the Past Global Changes project (PAGES).

The publication is freely accessible online via the publishing house Springer, but can also be purchased as printed versions:

Yang, L., Bork, H.-R.,  Fang, X., Mischke, S., 2019. Socio-Environmental Dynamics along the Historical Silk Road. Springer-Nature, Cham, Switzerland. 535 Pages. ISBN 978-3-030-00727-0

2018 JMA Plenary Meeting and first ROOTS PIs Meeting

On October 22nd, the 2018 Johanna-Mestorf-Academy Plenary Meeting took place with many members in attendance.

The meeting included updates from the speakers and the representatives on the numerous projects and initiatives that took place over the past year in the frame of the JMA. New members also introduced themselves and their research. Above all, this meeting was an opportunity to celebrate the success of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS!

Following the JMA Plenary Meeting, the first ROOTS PIs Meeting kicked-off seven years of interdisciplinary advanced research on how social, environmental, and cultural processes have substantially shaped past human development: the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS is now starting its activities!

JMA Members Group

01: Group Photo of the JMA Members (Photo: JMA ׀ Carsten Reckweg)


02: Group photo of the ROOTS PIs (Photo: JMA ׀ Carsten Reckweg)


Grünes Licht für ROOTS!

MoldawienDie Freude bei den Kieler Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern ist riesig. Ihr Antrag hat alle Hürden genommen und wurde am 27. September von der gemeinsamen Kommission zur Förderung eines Exzellenzclusters im Rahmen der sogenannten Exzellenzstrategie des Bundes und der Länder bewilligt. Von 1. Januar an bis (mindestens) Dezember 2025 werden die Wissenschaftler aus 15 CAU Instituten an sechs Fakultäten der Universität Kiel nun unter dem Label „ROOTS“ die „Wurzeln der Konnektivität von Gesellschaft, Umwelt und Kultur in vergangenen Welten“ erforschen.

„Damit etablieren wir in Kiel einen Leuchtturm für die Erforschung prähistorischer, antiker und vormoderner Gesellschaften. Unser Profil breit gefächerter Interdisziplinarität mit starker Ausrichtung an der Schnittstelle von Kultur-zu Natur- und Lebenswissenschaften ist einzigartig und wurde von dem internationalen Expertengremium als zukunftsweisend bewertet“ freut sich Johannes Müller. Den prähistorischen Archäologen und Sprecher des neu bewilligten Clusters hatte die gute Nachricht um 2 Uhr morgens lokaler Zeit in Kyoto ereilt. Wichtiger ROOTS-Partner ist das Deutsche Archäologische Institut (DAI).

Drei Jahre Vorbereitungszeit hat es gekostet, die konzeptionellen Ideen für den Cluster in zahlreichen Diskussions-Runden zu entwickeln, interdisziplinär abzustimmen, auf ihre Machbarkeit zu überprüfen, eine Antragsskizze zu formulieren, und schließlich nach deren positiver Vorbegutachtung vor einem Jahr einen Vollantrag auszuarbeiten, der eine Forschungsagenda für die kommenden sieben Jahre umreißt. Zurückgreifen konnten die Antragsteller dabei auf ihre bisherige Erfahrungen in der Graduiertenschule „Human Development in Landscapes“ (GSHDL), im Rahmen der vorausgehenden Exzellenzinitiative seit 2007 bis Ende diesen Jahres gefördert, und deren schon vorhandene Strukturen. „Die großartige Unterstützung der Universität sowie des Landes schon im Vorfeld haben enorm zu unserem jetzigen Erfolg beigetragen“ sagt Annette Haug, Klassische Archäologin und stellvertretende Sprecherin des Clusters. Auch strukturell ist der Cluster auf die kommenden Herausforderungen gut vorbereitet. „Den Rahmen dafür bietet die Johanna-Mestorf-Akademie, eine gemeinsame Einrichtung der Kieler Uni zur Entwicklung ihres profilbildenden Schwerpunktes „Sozialer, Umwelts- und Kulturwandel“ (SECC)“, äußert sich Lutz Käppel, Gräzist und Sprecher von SECC zuversichtlich.

Die Mühen haben sich gelohnt: Geforscht werden kann nun mit verbesserter personeller und infrastruktureller Ausstattung. Unter anderem sollen mehrere Professuren neu eingerichtet und mit international herausragenden Experten besetzt werden. „Ein Plattformkonzept zur infrastrukturellen Entwicklung sieht z. B. den Erwerb eines speziellen GC-C-IR-Massenspektrometers vor, das die Analyse der Isotopenzusammmensetzung von Aminosäuren ermöglicht und so Aufschluss über die Ernährungsweisen früherer Gesellschaften  geben wird“, erläutert Wolfgang Rabbel, Geophysiker und ebenfalls stellvertretender Sprecher des Clusters.

„Schon jetzt können wir sagen“, so Lutz Kipp, Präsident der Kieler Universität, „dass der ROOTS-Cluster die Attraktivität und internationale Sichtbarkeit der Kieler Uni weiter steigern wird“. Dass vom neuen Cluster „spannende Ergebnisse zu gesellschaftlich hoch relevanten Themen zu erwarten sind, die sich auch hervorragend für den Wissenstransfer an Schüler und an die allgemeine Öffentlichkeit eignen“ ergänzt Ilka Parchmann, Fachdidakterin am IPN und Vizepräsidentin der Kieler Universität mit Ressort „Lehramt, Wissenschaftskommunikation und Weiterbildung“.


01: Seebohrung für Paläoumweltforschung und Rekonstruktion der Mensch-Umwelt-Interaktion, Vouliagmeni, Griechenland (Foto: Ingmar Unkel)


02: Ethnoarchäologische Studien in Sibirien, Russland (Foto: Christoph Engel)

Ausgrabung Vrable

03: Ausgrabungssituation in Vráble, Slowakei (Foto: Martin Furholt)

Excellence Cluster ROOTS Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity approved!

On September 27th 2018, funding decisions have been made in Germany’s Excellence Strategy: The Excellence Commission, consisting of the members of the international Committee of Experts and the research ministers of the federal and state governments, approved 57 Clusters of Excellence to be funded from among the 88 proposed projects. 

Among the successful cluster proposal is ROOTS! This new cluster of excellence will start on January 1st 2019 and until end of 2025 will explore how social, environmental, and cultural processes have substantially shaped past human development. The cluster is composed by an interdisciplinary network of 15 participating institutes and six faculties at Kiel University and external research institutes, including the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA), the State Museum Schleswig-Holstein in Gottorf (ALM), the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön.

More info


01: Excavation in Mang de Bargen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (Photo by: Jutta Kneisel)


02: Coring activities for palaeoenvironmental investigation and human-environmental reconstruction, Pellworm, Schleswig-Holstein (Photo by: Ingmar Unkel)

DFG Begutachtung

03: Group photo of ROOTS presenters together with Schleswig-Holstein Minister-President Daniel Günther und Prof. Dr. Friederike Fless (DAI) in Cologne after the DFG appraisal on May 30th 2018


04: ROOTS structure with ROOTS research areas (subclusters), supporting platforms, and involved disciplines


Recent palynological research on subsistence transformations in the costal zones of Mesolithic Norway

January 08, 2018

Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe.Based on previous palynological research, the new publication “Towards a refined understanding of the use of coastal zones in the Mesolithic: New investigations on human–environment interactions in Telemark, southeastern Norway” deals with transformations in prehistoric subsistence. In collaboration of Kiel University together with colleagues from Oslo, M. Wieckowska-Lüth, CRC 1266 subproject F3 researcher W. Kirleis, S. Solheim and A. Schülke, both Museum of Cultural History, Oslo University, could identify anthropogenic manipulations in Mesolithic woodlands in the costal hinterland of southeastern Norway. The joint publication tackles the question if early woodland management was an intended or unintended process and in which sense hunter-gatherer strategies of costal hinterland exploitation contributed to forest alteration. Besides evidence for the repeated use of the forested costal hinterland in Mesolithic times, a highlight of their research findings is the consistency of archaeological and palynological data, as both material culture and pollen proxies’ support the fact that the availability of the resource lime (providing timber for dug out canoes and bast for ropes) was one potential trigger for the production and use of Noestvet axes, as the number of sites with these artefacts increases with the onset and peaks in the Tilia pollen curve. Based on this data, as well changes in the woodland composition (occurrance of lime) as transformations in the site pattern (establishment of special workshop activity areas in the coastal hinterland) can be explained.

Figure: Summed probability distribution plot of all published 14C-dates (n = 57) from 18 sites containing Nøstvet axes and production waste in southeastern Norway plotted against the percentage curves of Tilia and Betula. The decreases in the Tilia curve represent opening up of the forest canopy and the potential use of the timber and bast of the lime e.g. for dug out canoes, whereas the increases in the Betula curve demonstrate the starts of the woodland regeneration phases with the pioneer species birch. Figure: Steinar Solheim/Carsten Reckweg (Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, University of Kiel). M. Wieckowska-Lüth et al. 2018, p. 848, fig. 10

M. Wieckowska-Lüth, S. Solheim, A. Schülke, W. Kirleis, 2018: Towards a refined understanding of the use of coastal zones in the Mesolithic: New investigations on human–environment interactions in Telemark, southeastern Norway. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17 (2018) 839-851. DOI:10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.045

Developments of Population Agglomerations, Social inequality and Centralized Control in Neolithic to Iron Age times

October 23, 2017

Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe.

Three new publications of CRC 1266 speaker Johannes Müller concentrate on aspects of developments and forms of population agglomerations connected to the origin of social inequalities and centralized control in prehistoric Europe. The settlements and Chalcolithic mega-sites in Southeast Europe, especially the Balkan and the North Pontic region. Additionally to the scope of the GSHDL “Human Dresearch benefits from long-term project collaborations and excavations of Neolithicevelopment in Landscapes”, the studies are of main interest for questions related to social and economic transformations addressed in the CRC 1266 (e.g. subproject A1D1interlinking groups “Economies: Stability and transformation” and “Social organisation and Built Space”).

In “From the Neolithic to the Iron Age – Demography and Social Agglomeration. The Development of Centralized Control” Müller takes a diachronic look on patterns of economic and social structures present at sites of population agglomerations and concludes the breakdown of these proto-urban structures as a response of vulnerable societies to internal changes of the state system. Not a general population growth but the concentration of people and the magnitude of control exercised within these communities prevented the development of sustainable socio-political systems, which stays in contrast to the Near East. In co-authorship with CRC 1266 and GSHDL colleagues Vesa Arponen, Robert Hofmann and René Ohlrau, the paper “The Appearance of social inequalities: Cases of Neolithic and Chacolithic Societies” presents a new methodological approach how to detect social inequality and forms of social control. The archaeological record of households from Late Neolithic Balkan villages and Chalcolithic North Pontic mega-sites is examined in order to establish proxies addressing these issues, for instance the social meaning of households by comparing architecture and inventories.  “Inheritance, population development and social identities” discusses the role of households and inheritance rules in Southeast Europe from 5200-4300 BCE related to questions concerning changes of political structures within these societies. Along concrete examples, he considers the institutional and regulatory characteristics of these concepts connected to certain archaeological proxies, such as house size, settlement structure, degree of population agglomeration and regional population density.

Müller, J., From the Neolithic to the Iron Age – Demography and Social Agglomeration. The Development of Centralized Control. In: Manuel Fernández-Götz und Dirk Krause (Ed.): Eurasia at the Dawn of History. Urbanization and Social Change. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017, p. 106–124.

Müller, J.; Arponen, V. P.; Hofmann, R.; Ohlrau, R., The Appearance of social inequalities: Cases of Neolithic and Chacolithic Societies. In: Andrea Cardarelli, Alberto Cazalla und Marcella Fangipane (Ed.): Preistoria e protostoria delle civilta antiche. Thematic issue: The Origin of Inequality. [S.l.]: GANGEMI (Origini. Preistoria e protostoria delle civiltà antiche - Prehistory and protohistory of ancient civilizations, XXXVIII, 2015-2), 2017, p. 65–83.

Müller, J., Inheritance, population development and social identities. Southeast Europe 5200-4300 BCE. In: Maja Gori und Maria Ivanova (Hg.): Balkan Dialogues. Negotiating Identity between Prehistory and the Present. Florence: Taylor and Francis (Routledge Studies in Archaeology) 2017, p. 156–168.

Figure: Müller, Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe. The principles of the spatial distribution of houses, the size of houses and continuities and discontinuities might be interpreted as the reflection of different inheritance rules in the archaeological record: Primogeniture contra partible inheritance (J. Müller, Inheritance, population development and social identities, p. 162).

Nagaland Workshop

March 12, 2018

PhD International Seminar and Workshop 12-24 March in Kohima in Nagaland, India

Nagaland - Building bigThe Department of History and Archaeology,  Nagaland University, invites junior and senior scientist to discuss matters of monumentality from different viewpoints: The international PhD Seminar “Building Big? Global Scales of Monumentality – an ethnoarchaeological perspective” and following workshop “Hierarchy and Balance: the role of monumentality in European and North-East Indian Landscapes” taking place at the Kohima Campus (Meriema) in Nagaland from 12-24 March. It is jointly organised by the Nordic School of Archaeology “Dialogues with the Past” (Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway) as well as the CRC 1266 and the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” (GS HDL) at Kiel University.
Central issue of the events is monumentality as being an exceptionally diverse and broad phenomenon in archaeological research across the world that occurs in different social settings within history and prehistory.  By presenting and discussing papers on different topics, the 5-days PhD seminar concentrates on the significance, meaning and interpretations of monumentality as research objectives:

  • What does monumentality mean in different societies? How could a comparative approach be useful to answer archaeological questions on reconstructing social behaviour?
  • Is it possible to connect the very different theoretical approaches on monumentality? How much are especially theories focussing on the organisation of labour and cooperation influenced by western-capitalist views on economy and labour organisation?
  • How can a comparative approach that includes ethno archaeology be useful for studies on monumentality? Where can similarities and dissimilarities be found in broad studies on this topic?

In the following days, the workshop lectures given by Christian Jeunesse (University of Strasbourg), Tilok Thakuria  (North-Eastern Hill University, Tura campus, Meghalaya), Luc Laporte (University of Rennes), Marco Mitri (UCC, Shillong), Colin Richards (Orkney College. University of Highlands & Islands) and Johannes Mueller (University of Kiel) provide comparative perspectives on different forms and aspects of monumentality. In the context of surrounding monumental architecture of the Nagaland region and expertise of participating specialists from Northeast India, both events draw special attention to the “Naga Megaliths” as one connecting facet of the daily experience – to be explored vividly in the following excursions.
As one main organisers and supporters of the events, PhD candidate Maria Wunderlich and CRC 1266 and GSHDL speaker Johannes Müller bring in long-term experience in research on prehistoric monumentality in Europe gained during the DFG Priority Programme 1400 “Early monumentality and Social Differentiation”, from which the collaboration with the Nordic School of Archaeology and the Indian scholars grew.
Müller looks forward to his stay in India: “It’s a new practice to bringing together European and Indian student tandems for presentations on one topic and also to organise the workshop along structural comparisons of Northeast-Indian and European transformations. As a whole, this is a forward-looking format for international academic communication and graduate education on equal terms”.
For Johanna Brinkmann, the workshop is an important occasion to get ethnoarchaeological insights in rituals and practices of monumental stone architecture, which makes an important contribution to her PhD thesis “Theories on Neolithic Monumentality” in the scope of CRC subproject A1 “Theories of Transformation in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies”. Liudmila Shatilo is allocated in subproject D1 “Population agglomerations at Tripolye-Cucuteni mega-sites”, in which monumentality is addressed in respect to mega-structures. Our guest PhD Mariana Vasilache-Curoșu is also joining in on this theme.

Programme and more information

Text: K. Fuchs/J. Schüle 

Picture: M. Wunderlich

ICE 4 - Johanna Mestorf

The Deutsche Bahn AG Chooses the First German Female Professor of Archaeology as a Name Giver for a New ICE-4 Train.

     Photo of Johanna MestorfICE 4

The Deutsche Bahn AG intends to name an ICE of the newest generation after the notable archaeologist Johanna Mestorf (1828–1909). At Kiel University in 1899, Mestorf was appointed as the first female honorary professor of Prussia.

Within the scope of a nationwide search for the names of 100 new ICE-4 trains, the Deutsche Bahn AG received more than 2500 suggestions, from which a jury selected 100 historic personalities. The Deutsche Bahn is planning to put the 100 new ICE-4 trains into service by 2023. After a review of the name rights, it will christen the new trains with the selected names. On the initiative of Dr. Julia Katharina Koch (CAU Kiel), a number of persons from the university, among them Prof. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim (Schleswig) and Prof. Johannes Müller (Kiel), as well as persons from public life, including the Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, campaigned for Mestorf, who was born more than 110 years ago in Bramstedt.

Still largely unknown to the public, Johanna Mestorf was one of the first female directors of a museum in Preußen at that time. She influenced archaeological research in Germany and Scandinavia through numerous excavations and publications. Johanna Mestorf is the name giver of the Johanna Mestorf Academy (JMA), which supports the Cluster proposal “ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies” under the direction of Prof. Johannes Müller within the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Deutsche Bahn –