More Info: Excellence Cluster ROOTS Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity approved!

ROOTS aims to explore the roots of social, environmental, and cultural phenomena and processes that substantially marked past human development in a broad interdisciplinary conceptual framework. Archaeological and historical ‘laboratories’ will be investigated under the basic assumption that humans and environments have deeply shaped each other, creating socio-environmental connectivities which still persist today. A better understanding of interwoven past socio-environmental dynamics will shed light on the ‘roots’ of current challenges and crises under diverse economic, ecological, and social conditions. Currently, society and the environment are subject to events and characterised by structures and processes, which give rise to essential questions about our own role and fragility in the global system, and how to deal with consequences of climate and environmental change, increasing urbanization, social developments, conflict potentials, and the role of stability and mobility in identity processes. The ROOTS research objectives will cover six foci: (1) Environmental hazards and impacts; (2) Dietary constraints and impacts; (3) Knowledge production, technology, and innovation; (4) Population agglomeration and urbanisation; (5) Social differentiation and inequalities; and (6) Conflict and conciliation. The ‘reflective turn’ will enable cross-disciplinary dialogue and enquiries within and between research foci, providing an overarching theoretical frame.

New research perspectives within the overall topical framework will be achieved through six new professorships (Geoarchaeology, Knowledge Studies, Social Archaeology, Urban Archaeology, Historical Linguistic Studies, and Socio-Environmental Modelling) oriented within innovative research fields at the interface of humanities, natural, and life sciences. They will expand the already existing broad interdisciplinary expertise of the applicants, providing new bridges between the outlined research field(s) and Kiel University’s priority research area Social, Environmental and Cultural Change (SECC). A ROOTS Young Academy (YA) will enhance research activities, communication, and international collaborations. It will provide excellent young researchers with an attractive space to develop independent and innovative profiles across disciplinary boundaries. Moreover, new research positions will be introduced for Physical Anthropology, Dendroarchaeology, Theories on Human Behaviour, and Integrative Archaeological Survey and Excavation Methodology. New “laboratories” are designed to enable research directions embracing empirical and theoretical approaches. Infrastructural advances will extend existing platforms to support the realisation of novel research. The outlined concept builds on the longstanding experience of the research-oriented GSC 208 “Human Development in Landscapes”, and will continue to make Kiel a leading centre for socio-environmental research on past societies.

ROOTS Structure

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