The JMA Working Groups

In the JMA Working Groups scientists of all levels from different disciplines together with students join to focus on topics of their interest.

Ceramic and Society

The working group focusses on ceramics as a prominent part of material culture. Its unique position in the archaeological record provides a variety of insights into past human societies, their cultural expressions, as well as establishing and studying specific networks. Without devoting itself to particular time periods or regions, the aim is to study ceramics as a cultural phenomenon.

The “Ceramic and society” working group started in 2014 in order to create a common ground for students and academics to exchange knowledge and experience of working with ceramics. Always open for new members doing research within differing contexts, it provides an environment for discussing ceramics, not necessarily concentrating exclusively on pottery.

From typology to archaeometrics and from Anatolia to Jutland the group constantly aims at developing a broader understanding of ceramics and their place in past human societies.

Mihaela Savu Send Mail
Robert Staniuk Send Mail


Social Inequality

The working group Social Inequality is a medium for meeting to discuss the questions of identification and interpretation of inequality in prehistory. We are interested in the various theories of inequality developed in archaeology and elsewhere in the human sciences, as well as in their implementation in archaeological studies. The aims of the working group are to study and discuss the multidimensional phenomenon of social inequality and promote its study among students, colleagues and beyond. We work actively to publish the results of our findings in peer reviewed publications (see Literature below).

Dr. Vesa Arponen Send Mail


Arponen, V.P.J., Müller, Johannes, Hofmann, Robert, Furholt, Martin, Ribeiro, Artur, Horn, Christian, & Hinz, Martin. 2015. Using the Capability Approach to Conceptualise Inequality in Archaeology: the Case of the Late Neolithic Bosnian Site Okoliste c. 5200-4600 BCE. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. In press. (View online:

Arponen, V.P.J., Müller, Johannes, Ohlrau, René. 2016. Artefacts, Houses and Inequality. In: Arm und Reich: Zur Ressourcenverteilung in prähistorischen Gesellschaften. Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte, Halle. Editor: Harald Meller et al. In press.



Urban Culture

The Working Group Urban Culture is interested in a very prominent aspect of socio-environmental research: the urban as a perceived, conceived and lived space (H. Lefebvre, La production de l’espace [1974]). In the perspective of very different disciplines (Prehistory, Classical Archaeology, Classical Philology, Medieval and Early Modern Archaeology, Medieval and Early Modern History, European Ethnology), the urban is not defined by fixed parameters (e. g. population size) but it is considered as a cultural variable. “Urban” contexts are characterized as dense settlement foci which distinguish from their less densely settled surroundings. Thus, the working group is interested in several crucial issues which all can be considered in respect to their perceived, conceived or lived qualities:

  • Urban Space: Questions of intraurban organization as well as the question of urban networks / cities and their hinterland.
  • Urban Lifestyle/Action: Questions of specific forms of urban action and interaction, e.g. forms of urban communication, movement in urban contexts, urban behaviour, social practice, urban economies.
  • Urban Transformation: Urbanscapes are conceived to be in constant transition. The processual character can take various forms ranging from resilient spaces to transferred, transformed, transmuted or even decayed spaces.

Activities: Collquium “Urbanscapes in Transition” / 20-22 October 2016

Contact: Prof. Dr. Annette Haug   Send Mail


Theory Discussion

Spatial Analysis

Space is one basic dimension and essential as a concept for many fields of research. As well as time space serves both as a general reference system between objects and as a trait in itself, that has to be investigated.

Due to the omnipresence of spatial information, many different approaches of spatial analysis are applied in various disciplines. The JMA group ‘Spatial Analysis’ attempts to share and exchange spatial analysis competence across disciplines and fields of research. We aim to enhance our knowledge of certain concepts, theories and applications by using different analytic approaches, to work collaboratively on certain topics and to transfer knowledge from one discipline or field of research to another.
The topics include spatial statistics, space syntax, point pattern analysis, spatial modeling and simulation, GIS, perceiving space and analysing transportation, networks and interdependent spatial relationships.

By organizing events such as workshops, lectures and Summer Schools as well as a round table, we aim for an exchange between scientists from different disciplines and fields. Irregular meetings are used to show progress as well as raise discussions on topics and to go about issues, the members might have. We support other initiatives with competence on spatial analysis.

PD Dr. Oliver Nakoinz   Send Mail
Nicole Grunert   Send Mail



The group looks at archaeological material from a life science perspective including research on fauna and flora, diets, animal domestication, and diseases.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ben Krause-Kyora   Send Mail


Quantification of Socio-Environmental Development

This only recently initiated group deals with resource flows and the interaction of economy and ecology.

Contact: Dr. Walter Dörfler   Send Mail