Fieldwork and Activities

ROOTS Social Inequalities Forum: Sequence of events

Social Inequalities Forum The ROOTS Social Inequality Forum is intended as a loose, but interrelated, sequence of events. The ROOTS Social Inequalities forum will not only bring together guests and
members of ROOTS and an interested audience, but it also aims to engage the topics in a more discussion-oriented format. In summer 2020 the ROOTS Social Inequality Forum will take place as a series of virtual meetings.

1. Isotopes and Social Inequality in Western Hallstatt: an afternoon conversation
by Dr. Ralph Grossmann/Dr. Nils Müller-Scheessel
Hallstatt tombs are among the most spectacular archaeological finds from Central Europe. Both speakers have been working on social inequality in the early Central European Iron Age using inter alia isotopic evidence. They discuss the opportunities of the methods. The discussion will be chaired by Tim Kerig.

2. Nagaland - An Ethnoarchaeology of Social Inequality
Prof. Johannes Müller/Dr. Maria Wunderlich
Nagaland, India, offers unique ethnoarchaeological insights not only into megalithic building techniques but also into the wider context of the practice. The speakers will present first results of their ongoing work within ROOTS and the CRC1266

3. Social inequality and internal conflict in ancient Mesopotamia - striking examples from the IIIrd millennium
Dr. Tobias Helms (Universität Mainz)
In the IIIrd millennium social inequality reaches new levels in Mesopotamia leading to several forms of violence between and within urban societies. T. Helms will present spectacular unpublished findings from his ongoing habilitation project related to conflict and social inequality.   

Contact: If you would like to participate please contact Tim Kerig
Date: 8 June / 22 June / 6 July 2020, 4.15-5:45 p.m.
Venue: Virtual meetings
Download programme here


Tracing migration effects in Siberia: Ethnoarchaeological research on changing socio-economic strategies of boreal hunter-fisher-herders

Hunter GathererFig. Pokalky, Wesztern Siberia, Taz Selkup summer station. Reindeer assembling around open-air smoke oven (photo: C. Engel, 2017).

New results on ethnoarchaeological research in Siberia have been recently published by Henny Piezonka and her Russian-German team in the scientific journal “Quaternary International”. This publication is associated with the Subcluster Dietary ROOTS.
The article explores the role of migration as a trigger for transformations of life ways, subsistence strategies, material culture and ethnic identity in hunter-fisher-reindeer herder societies. Fieldwork among the Taz Selkup, a mobile hunter-fisher-herder community that migrated into the northern taiga of Western Siberia three centuries ago, provides insights into the consequences of migration to a new environmental zone. Based on a multi-disciplinary approach, Henny Piezonka and her team are able to identify different factors at play in these processes, such as adaption to new ecological conditions, cultural influences from other groups, and mechanisms of cultural resilience. The results reveal a range of economic and related lifeway adaptations, including niche construction strategies related to the uptake of reindeer husbandry, reflected, e.g., by the use of smoke ovens against mosquitoes to bind the reindeer to the human settlements and feeding fish to reindeer in winter.

The article is free on ScienceDirect before June 25, 2020.


The Subcluster Urban ROOTS is on track of abandoned cities in the steppe

Abandoned cities in the steppe
Project partner Prof. Martin Oczipka creates a 3D model of the monastery complex Baruun Khüree, Mongolia (photo: Sara Jagiolla / CAU).

The Mongolian-German research project “Abandoned Cities of the Steppe”, which participates in the Urban Roots Subcluster, published a preliminary report on the topic titled: “Urban structures from the period of Manchurian reign and their continued effects in present-day Mongolia”.
Since 2019, archaeological-cultural-anthropological research has been conducted on abandoned sedentary settlements of the Early Modern period, on their position in nomadic society and on their reception and role within the local memory culture. First field research, including the creation of high-resolution 3D surface models, focused on the Baruun Khüree monastery and on so-called pit structures, which are interpreted as possible semi-permanent military stations or encampments.
First results already provide evidence on how the examined sedentary structures are interwoven with events of Mongolian history, how the use and meaning of the sites has changed and how current discourses are developed in relation to these sites. This will help us to comprehend the complex interrelationships between sedentary settlements as socio-economic and political nodes, to interpret the loss of these sites and to grasp current perceptions.

Click here to download the article (in German).

Biweekly Colloquia – Summerterm 2020

Biweekly ColloquiaThe Biweekly will be held as a virtual lecture series in summer semester 2020
Due to the Corona crisis, lectures by external foreign guests in front of an audience are not possible. Therefore, PIs from ROOTS and SFB 1266 will provide a virtual replacement.
The talks by the PIs from different disciplines of ROOTS and SFB 1266 will be presented via live streaming. Afterwards, the audience will be able to discuss with the speakers on the Internet.
The theme of the lecture series focuses on “Connectivity and Transformation in Prehistoric Societies”. The purpose of the lectures is to present the speakers’ current research areas and – in terms of content and methodology – to illustrate their links to the topics of “connectivity” and “transformation”.
Annette Haug from the Institute of Classical Studies / Classical Archaeology will start on May 4.
To the program: Link

ROOTS of Inequalities Forum: Double lecture with discussion

Social Inequalities Forum

1. Elche, Schlitten und rätselhafte Holzkonstruktionen: Zur Archäologie in den Torfmooren des Urals

by:  Sabine Reinhold, Natal’ja M. Chairkina, Karl-Uwe Heußner, Dirk Mariaschk (Berlin and Ekaterinburg)

2. Forts, pots and people: New results on Stone Age hunter-gatherer socio-economic systems in Western Siberia

by:  Ljubov‘ Kosinskaja, Ekaterina Dubovceva, Henny Piezonka (Ekaterinburg and Kiel)

The event is jointly organised by the subclusters ROOTS of Inequalities and Dietary ROOTS, and the Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology.
Everyone who is interested in this topic is warmly welcome to join the forum.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Henny Piezonka
Date: 24 February 2020, 16.00-18.00 hrs.
Venue: Kiel University, Leibnizstraße 3, Room 123, 24118 Kiel



Material Analysis

Archaeological excavations bring to light and document artefacts of various origin. Frequently these artefacts, particularly their microstructure and composition, raise questions of inter- and transdisciplinary relevance, which cannot be answered by conventional routine analyses. This workshop aims at showing how analytical techniques from the material science, e.g. like electron microscopy methods as well as spectroscopic techniques, can help to clarify some of the questions about the origin and use of these findings.


Session 1 / 10.00-12.00
Presentations related to the theoretical background of the material analysis equipment, including Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-Ray Diffraction Method (XRD) and Raman Spectroscopy. After the presentations, there will be a question/answer time.
Lunch Break / 12:00-12:45

Session 2 / 12.45-14.15
Visit to all the material analysis facilities and laboratories of the Technical Faculty, including short  practical overview of the measurements.

Following the workshop, a focus group is scheduled to be established on 9th March 2020 from 10:00-12:00. More information about the focus group will be announced in the workshop.

Date: 25 February 2020
Venue: Kiel University / Technical Faculty / Kaiserstraße 2 / Room A-239 / 24143 Kiel
Contact: Khurram Saleem,, phone +49 (0) 431/880-6182


!!! Conference POSTPONED !! ROOTS International Conference: “Medical Knowledge and its 'Sitz im Leben': Body and Horror in Antiquity”

Medical Knowledge

Conference postponed due to the further spreading of the Corona-Virus.
We will inform you about the rescheduled date as soon as possible.

This conference explores ancient and modern concepts of horror with reference to the human body. The aim is to examine how the body processes, affectively as well as cognitively, horrifying experiences and how it can turn itself into a source of horror, e.g. in contexts of sickness and death. While we are firmly aware of the fact that ‘horror’ as a largely post-Romantic concept is not unproblematic when applied to Greek and Latin texts, we will try to show that its classical antecedents and roots must be considered as they might shed light on the ways in which the horrific, as a category that shapes our encounter with various forms of art but also with life itself, is understood today.

Confirmed speakers:
Noel Carroll (Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA)
Giulia Maria Chesi (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany)  
Greg Eghigian (Penn State University)      
Debbie Felton (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)             
Maria Gerolemou (University of Exeter, UK)
Lutz Alexander Graumann (University Hospital, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, Germany)
Lutz Käppel (Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, Kiel University, Germany)
George Kazantzidis (University of Patras, Greece)
Dunstan Lowe (Kent University, UK)
Nick Lowe (Royal Holloway University of London, UK)  
Glenn Most (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy / Chicago, USA)
Alessandro Schiesaro (University of Manchester, UK)
Rodrigo Sigala (independent, Germany)
Evina Sistakou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Dimos Spatharas (University of Crete, Greece)
Chiara Thumiger (Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, Kiel University, Germany)

Date: 22-23 May 2020
Venue: IBZ, Kiel University, Kiellinie 5, 24105 Kiel
Please download the abstracts of the talks here
Link to event

Georgios Kazantzidis (University of Patras)
Chiara Thumiger (Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, Kiel University)

(Photo credit: Saulo Bambi - Sistema Museale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze)

Philosophy of Archaeology: A ROOTS Reflective Turn Forum Workshop

Philosophy and Archaeology

This workshop invites an international and interdisciplinary cast of specialists to Kiel to discuss the role of philosophy and theory in archeology. We work with a broad, inclusive, and interdisciplinary definition of philosophy as the reflective and iterative process of conceptual clarification and paradigm critique. What are the outstanding questions in archaeological theory today? What is the concrete, middle range theoretical import of philosophy to archaeological interpretation of data?

In a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and with a specious time table, the symposium affords the contributors ample time to develop and discuss their thoughts.

This workshop is open to all members of the public and the research cluster ROOTS.

Confirmed speakers:
Jerimy Cunningham (University of Lethbridge)
Caroline Heitz (University of Bern)
Thomas Meier (Heidelberg University)
Julian Thomas (University of Manchester)
Rachel Crellin (University of Leicester)
Constance von Rüden (RUB Bochum)

and from Kiel University:
Vesa Arponen
Tim Kerig
Konrad Ott
Artur Ribeiro

Date: 20-21 February 2020
Venue: Kiel University, Leibnizstr. 1, room 105a+b

Konrad Ott
VPJ Arponen

Download timetable + abstracts here

2019 ROOTS excavation at Hundisburg-Olbetal, a fortified Bronze Age settlement


As part of the research activities of the ROOTS subcluster “ROOTS of Conflict: Competition and Conciliation”, a small archaeological excavation was conducted at the fortified Bronze Age settlement of Hundisburg-Olbetal (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) in August 2019 under the direction of Maria Wunderlich. The excavation focused on the exploration of different areas and aspects of the site in order to document the state of preservation as well as the nature and dating of the internal settlement area. In fact, while 14C dates and data are already available for the ditch surrounding the settlement area, features of the inner settlement were only briefly documented by excavations in 2010 and 2011, which focused on the Funnel Beaker phases in Hundisburg-Olbetal.

Although the state of preservation of the features is poor due to past deep ploughing activities, our excavation could identify several interesting features, including numerous pit structures. These can be differentiated into big settlement pits, which were probably used for the disposal of waste, and possible extraction pits. The latter are characterized by a straight profile and are untypically narrow and deep. From these, only single finds were documented, while the large settlement pits provided abundant material, including pottery, animal bones and stone tools. In combination with the promising large amount of botanical remains retrieved from these pits, these finds will support a detailed interpretation and reconstruction of the socio-economic character of the site as well as its precise dating. At this stage, a preliminary evaluation of the finds suggests that the inner settlement dates to the Early Bronze Age. If confirmed by the radiocarbon dates, this dating would match the 14C dates retrieved from the ditch.
The analysis of the results of the successful 2019 excavation will therefore enable a better understanding of the Hundisburg-Olbetal settlement within the contexts of potential conflicts, as they are reflected in the fortification of this site.


Investigation of the building history of the Insula del Citarista (I 4), Pompeii


From 21 September to 15 October 2019, a team from the Department of Classical Archaeology, Kiel University, consisting of two students of classical archaeology, Marcel Deckert and Katrin Göttsch, and the building archaeologist, Tobias Busen, undertook a fieldwork campaign in Pompeii, Italy.

As part of the ROOTS subcluster “Urban ROOTS: Urban Agency and Perception”, the aim of this study was to investigate the architectural remains of the insula I 4 (Insula del Citarista), a central block of the ancient city situated at the intersection of two of the main streets (Via Stabiana and Via dell’Abbondanza). The Insula del Citarista is primarily known for its wall paintings and the bronze sculpture of the Apollo Citarista found within the domus during the excavations in 1853.

The main activities of the 2019 building survey focused on the systematic collection of information on building materials, building techniques, mortars and plasters, as well as finding evidence for the succession of the various building measures within the houses and shops of the insula.

ROOTS in Pompeii


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions