Fieldwork and Activities

Mountains, mires, metal pollution: investigating past sulphidic ore mining in the Arlberg Alps

With accelerating speed and intensity, humans have used, altered and polluted alpine landscapes and ecosystems by hunting, livestock management and the extraction of natural resources. Despite their idyllic appearance, the Alps are nowadays a largely cultural landscape, full of mostly invisible scars by quarries, pits, shafts, fires, deforestation and soil erosion – not to speak of the touristic overuse in recent times.

This summer, while public life and research all over the world were still frozen by the pandemic, peatlands in the Alps were unimpressed and just went on growing – burying and storing carbon and information since the last glacial maximum. In spite of the circumstances, a small team led with Clemens von Scheffer, member of the ROOTS Hazards Subcluster (Link), managed to do fieldwork in the Austrian Alps. The mires they headed for are located close to St. Christoph am Arlberg in the Verwall area, at ca. 2000 m elevation, where only marmots, chamois and occasional hikers, but no viruses, roam. Only 100 years ago, mining operations for ores rich in zinc, lead, arsenic and iron were finally given up here. Yet still today, disintegrating stone buildings, shafts, buddle pits, bare mine dumps and thriving Silene rupestris – a heavy metal indicator plant – bear witness to the operations. While written proof goes back to the end of the Middle Ages, evidence of earlier extraction is inexistent.

Disturbed by cold rain and mosquitoes, the team was able to take several core profiles in direct proximity of the old mines. Back in Kiel, the process of drawing secrets from the old wounds of the murky depths of these mountain peatlands has begun. Not only will the geochemical analyses provide indications for episodes of heavy land use and, potentially, prehistoric mining but also reveal the environmental legacy of these past operations – heavy metal pollution adsorbed to humic substances and to countless tiny moss leaves.

For further information, please contact Dr. Clemens von Scheffer by sending an email to cscheffer(at)

AlpsFigure 1: Cored peatland (left), buddle pit and stone building (right) at St. Christoph am Arlberg. Photo by Clemens von Scheffer.

AlpsFigure 2: Preparing to take the third meter with a Russian peat corer. Photo by Clemens von Scheffer.

AlpsFigure 3: Freshly cored, well-preserved mossy peat. Photo by Clemens von Scheffer.

AlpsFigure 4: Pushing the corer into the mire by hand. Bare mine dump in the background. Photo by Clemens von Scheffer.

ROOTS Social Inequalities Forum: Tales from the Burial Mound

In three sessions, Julian Laabs, Henny Piezonka, Johannes Müller and Andrea Ricci will present a newly established database on burial mounds. The aim of the database is to gather standardized information on as many Eurasian burial mounds as possible as a proxy of social inequality between the Atlantic and Central Asia, from the 5th to the 2nd millennia BCE. The size of the monument itself is seen as representing the economic strength of the deceased or the successors. Data entry is still ongoing. 

The project will be further developed in discourse within the ROOTS Social Inequalities Forum. See also: Link

These three sessions of the Social Inequalities Forum will take place from 10 to 11.30am on Tuesday, October 20, October 27, and November 10.

Uc Tepe
Figure 1: the kurgans of Üçtəpə in eastern Azerbaijan (photo: A. Ricci).

Ethnoarchaeology during Corona times: “Remote” fieldwork in Siberia and “hands on” research on Sami reindeer herding in Finland

Dietary ROOTS PhD candidate, Morgan Windle, was able to participate in an exciting field expedition with colleagues from the University of Oulu to Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, Finland at the end of July, adding to her original travel agenda to the Taiga of Western Siberia (postponed due to the Corona virus) as a part of her doctoral project Human-reindeer interactions in contemporary and ancient Siberian communities (supervised by Prof. Henny Piezonka and Prof. Cheryl Makarewicz).
Our Russian partners were able to carry out the planned expedition to the Taz Selkup communities on the lower course of the Pokal‘ky River in the forest zone of Western Siberia (in association with Henny Piezonka’s project Ethno-archaeological research among the Selkup, a mobile hunter-fisher community in Siberia). Here, families continue to practice mobile hunter-fisher lifeways and incorporate small-scale reindeer herding in their subsistence economy for transport purposes. The objectives of this trip were to document processes of incorporating reindeer husbandry in an economic system otherwise based on foraging, to document known archaeological and ethnographic sites, and to conduct further ethnoarchaeological research via interviews, artefact documentation, as well as participant observation of practices among the Selkup families. In d oing this, Aleksandr Kenig and his team were able to circumvent Morgan’s absence and collect data particularly pertinent to her project with the aid of Taz Selkup family members (Fig. 1-2).

Morgan Windle
Figure 1: Russian partners and Selkup family members collecting hair samples from the herd on Morgan's behalf (photo: A. Kenig).

Morgan Windle
Figure 2: Selkup family member collecting hair samples from the herd for isotopic analysis (photo: A. Kenig).

While Russian colleagues were in Siberia, Morgan was in Kilpisjärvi. The aims of this fieldwork were to understand the status of reindeer herding in this part of Lapland (Fig. 3-4) with an emphasis on Sami practices and the tensions between the inhabitants of the tourist town of Kilpisjärvi and indigenous reindeer herders (Fig. 5). Additionally, explorations of the Mallan luonnonpuisto (Malla Strict Nature Reserve) were carried out in search of remnants of bunkers (Fig. 6) and prisoners of war camps from WWII – all of which occupy an important traditional grazing space for reindeer, but which herders are no longer allowed to access legally. For Morgan, she was especially interested in learning from the local Sami reindeer herders (Fig. 7), who grew up in mobile families and could provide insights into the old ways of Sami herding strategies. Additionally, unlike the dense forest of the Siberian taiga, the open upland tundra landscape provided Morgan with the opportunity to understand the potential differences between human-reindeer systems within a more global perspective.

Morgan Windle
Figure 3: One of the many young reindeer that Morgan encountered in Finland (photo: M. Windle).

Morgan Windle
Figure 4:  A herd of reindeer that was encountered on the customs platform between the Finnish and Norwegian borders (photo: M. Windle).

Morgan Windle
Figure 5: View of Kilpisjärvi's most prominent feature in the landscape, the Saana fell (photo: M. Windle). Morgan Windle
Figure 6: Scraps from WWII bunkers on the north side of the Saana fell (photo: M. Windle).

Morgan Windle
Figure 7: One of the reindeer herders who Morgan met on her fieldtrip during an interview on his property (photo: M. Windle).

During particular outings with herders, she not only visited spaces for reindeer milking that were historically used by the Sami people when they were still mobile pastoralists a few decades ago but also observed the traditional round-up spaces for slaughter (Fig. 8) and earmarking (Fig. 9). Notably, cross-cultural interest in Morgan’s work was displayed by the reindeer-herders during these dialogues, in which they were interested in hearing from Morgan about Siberian herding and the endurance of traditional lifeways on the Siberian tundra and taiga. This was an unexpected result of Morgan’s visit in Finland, which demonstrated the impacts of ethnographic fieldwork, i.e. that the investigations on reindeer herding are not only an exercise relevant to scientific research but also for the indigenous communities themselves. It was an incredibly fruitful trip for the project as it yielded additional interregional insights on reindeer husbandry in northern ecosystems and provided an opportunity to enhance the ethnoarchaeological fieldwork required to understand reindeer domestication, while also becoming more informed on circumpolar indigenous issues outside Morgan’s study area and her home country of Canada.

Morgan WindleFigure 8: Traditional place for Sami people to slaughter reindeer, which is now used to round up herds to send them to EU slaughterhouses (photo: M. Windle).

Morgan WindleFigure 9: Camp platform where reindeer-herding families live during the earmarking round-up season. Sitting optimally high in the open tundra, families are able to watch over their herds during this busy time when the herd is separated and marked (photo: M. Windle).

Acknowledgements: The field trip to Northern Finland was hosted by the Departments of Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Oulu in collaboration with the ERC and the Academy of Finland funded project "Domestication in Action" (DiA). Morgan would like to thank Hannu I. Heikkinen (Cultural Anthropology), Vesa-Pekka Herva (Archaeology), and Mathilde van den Berg (DiA doctoral student) for leading the field organization. Thanks are also extended to Aleksandr Kenig (Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology), Andrei Novikov (Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology) and their teams for carrying out data collection on Morgan’s behalf on the taiga during their field research. We are greatly indebted to the Selkup partners for kindly sharing their expertise and resources. Finally, Morgan would like to thank her supervisors Henny Piezonka and Cheryl Makarewicz for their continued support amidst the difficulties during Corona times. Without their encouragement and creative problem solving, these two advancements in Morgan’s work would not have been possible.

History of wood exploitation in the Southern French Alps: Modelling of man-environment relationships at local scales

wood exploitation
wood exploitation
Fig. 1 and 2: In the small village of Courbons (900 m a.s.l., near Digne-les-Bains city), the beams of the stables are very often made of oak, which was at least a hundred years old when they were felled. Nowadays, such big trees are no longer present in the forests of the region.

As part of the Subcluster ‘ROOTS of Socio-Environmental Hazards’ (link), several dendrochronological sampling campaigns have taken place in France since February 2020 under the direction of Dr. Lisa Shindo (contact: The first campaign took place in the ancient theatre of Orange. More on this part of the project can be seen in a short video, in French, which was made for the website of Orange city (link). The following campaigns were conducted in mountain houses and churches at 600-900 m altitude in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Fig. 1) and at 1100-1700 m altitude in the Hautes-Alpes (Fig. 2). In total, more than 15 mountain buildings dating from antiquity to modern times were studied. Dendrochronological analyses are still in progress, however, we can already deliver first results: in the wood-frames of the Hautes-Alpes buildings (at higher altitudes), only larch (Larix decidua Mill.) could be detected, whereas in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (at lower altitudes), the species are more varied. In particular, there are beautiful oak (Quercus sp.) beams in the stables, i.e. in the oldest levels. Nowadays, however, in the local forests there are no more living oaks that can produce such beams. This means that oak may have been over-exploited at one time, leading to its rarefaction.

An abstract of the paper for the annual conference of the Association for Tree-ring Research can be found here (link). The presentation “Well-designed mountain houses feature the only dated Pinus Sylvestris timbers in the southern French Alps” can be viewed online (link). A detailed article on this study will be published in the coming months.

Furthermore, together with Walter Dörfler and Ingo Feeser from the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University, we will conduct sedimentological, palynological and dendrochronological analyses this autumn in order to study annual sedimentary layers of lakes in northern Germany. The aim of this investigation is to identify events common to several lakes as well as characteristic years.

wood exploitationwoodFig. 3 and 4: In the hamlet of Dormillouse (1700 m a.s.l., near Briançon city), the large barns built in the upper levels of the houses are only made of larch. Large quantities of hay were stored there to feed the animals in winter.

Georadar investigations in the Casa del Citarista in Pompeii

Georadar PompeiiThe georadar team at work, Insula del Citarista (I 4), Pompeii. Photo: Tobias Busen, Kiel University.

In the framework of the project ‘The Insula del Citarista (I 4) in Pompeii’ (Link), which is part of the subcluster ‘Urban ROOTS’ (Link), fieldwork took place during the first week of September 2020. The aim of this study is to investigate earlier buildings covered by the extensions of the Casa del Citarista, which occupied large parts of the city block in its last building phase. For this purpose, a team from the Applied Geophysics group of Kiel University (Link) investigated the different areas of the house by means of radar technology (GPR). The results of this study will be discussed and combined with all the available evidence regarding the building phases of this important domus that have been compiled thus far.

Georadar PompeiiThe georadar team at work, Insula del Citarista (I 4), Pompeii. Photo: Tobias Busen, Kiel University.

The Wadden Sea Project starts geophysical investigations

Wadden SeaThe geomagnetic team at work on the tidal flats near Hooge. Photo: Ruth Blankenfeldt, ZBSA.

The Wadden Sea Project, as part of the Subcluster ROOTS of Socio-Environmental Hazards (Link), started its fieldwork last July with two short geophysical measurements on the tidal flats near the small North Frisian island of Hallig Hooge.

Hooge is one of the small islets (“Halligen”) in the Wadden Sea without a protective dyke. The marshland of the island is therefore open to the sea and often flooded during storm surges, forcing the inhabitants to settle on high terps. This way of life does not differ much from that of the early settlers during the High Medieval period, when the marshlands around Hooge had a much larger extent than today. In 1362, the “Grote Mandränke” flood significantly impacted the area, whereby large portions of the land were submerged and turned into tidal flats, leading to large losses of settlements and cultivated marshes.
Applying geomagnetic gradiometry, electromagnetic induction and drone photography, the first geophysical campaign of our project set out to find traces of the High Medieval settlements in the tidal flats south of Hooge. The starting point was an archaeological area documented in the 1970s, when erosion uncovered remains of a terp and several graves, which led to the assumption of the presence of a church. The results of our investigations surpassed all expectation. The geomagnetic prospections documented archaeological structures with high visibility and clarity. Three closely connected terps show traces of buildings and rectangular graves, and possibly also a west-to-east aligned outline of what might have been a church building. Furthermore, the surroundings of the terps show dense signatures of peat quarrying, probably dug in the aftermath of the inundation of the cultural landscape.
Further activities included measurements at the on-land site of an early medieval settlement and an excursion to further early- to high medieval sites on the tidal flats. Hooge has proven to be an excellent test area to map and analyse settlements of various periods and we look forward to the results of the next campaigns.

Wadden Sea Geomagnetic prospections on the tidal flats near Hooge. Drone photo: Dirk Bienen-Scholt, municipality of Hooge.

ROOTS Participates in the First Archaeological Digital Conference in Germany!


This year’s Deutscher Archäologie-Kongress (DAK) will take place digitally for the first time from 21–24 September 2020. Following the slogan “Horizons”, the Archaeological State Department of Schleswig-Holstein in Schleswig, the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology of Kiel University, the Archaeology Museum Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA) invite archaeologists from Germany, Europe and the world to expand and create new perspectives on the past for the future. Attendance is free of charge for all participants.

Kiel is represented at the DAK 2020 by the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS as well as by the CRC 1266. Both present their research projects in a session on Monday, September 21. The lectures of the ROOTS cluster include its wide range of different projects and disciplines and focus on connectivity in prehistoric societies. Among others, they cover topics such as Ethnoarchaeology in Eurasia, perspectives in Archaeoinformatics, and Conflict Studies. On Monday afternoon, researchers of the CRC 1266 “Scales of Transformation” will present no less exciting results and projects.

The keynote lecture will also be held digitally by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim (Director of the Foundation of the Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Schloss Gottorf) and Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller (Speaker of the Excellence Cluster ROOTS, the CRC 1266 and the Johanna-Mestorf-Academy, Director of the Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University). The title of the lecture is: “World Cultural Heritage and Cluster of Excellence: From Haithabu to Nagaland – New Horizons in Archaeology”. The scheduling of the keynote lecture will be announced later.

To visit the the Congress Homepage click here
Find the Programme here


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