Ancient Cities – MOOC “Discovering Greek & Roman Cities”

The world of ancient Greece and Rome was a world of cities. City-states dominated Greece in the first millennium BCE. In the Roman Empire, urban societies thrived from Britain and Spain in the West to Syria and Jordan in the East. Most of the major developments in the political, social, intellectual, and religious history of these periods started in cities. Accordingly, cities are the ideal point of departure for the study of life in antiquity. Furthermore, the legacy of ancient Greek and Roman cities are still keenly felt, in how we physically organize, build and live in our cities today, as well as how we think about and define cities.

The Strategic Partnership “Ancient Cities” is a cooperation of six European universities (i.e. Kiel University, Aarhus University, University of Athens, University of Bergen, University Paris I, Open University of the Netherlands) that brings together specialists from the fields of classical archaeology and e-learning to explore the many facets of Greek and Roman cities. Within ROOTS, this MOOC fits well with the research and approach of the sub-cluster Urban ROOTS: Urban Agency and Perception and the ROOTS Communication Platform.

Online MOOC: 
Under the coordination of ROOTS’ co-PI, Prof. Dr. Stefan Feuser (contact/link), this initiative is now launching the trilingual Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Discovering Greek & Roman Cities”. Starting September 12, 2019, this course will provide basic knowledge on ancient cities to a broad audience through videos, texts, quizzes, and various assignments within 8 weeks. The course will explore the connections between ancient cities and their impact on urban life in later periods across the globe.
Apart from a basic interest in archaeology, architecture, history or historical heritage, no specific knowledge is required. Participation in the course is free of charge.
The MOOC is now ready for registration here

Below you find the video teasers for this MOOC course in English and German:

Copyright information:
drawing: Jonathan Westin; design: Florent Alias



Urban ROOTS: Lecture Series

Bridging the gap: Urbanity between past and present

The 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. Event
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


Programme overview:

22.10. Eröffnungsvortrag, Pierre Monnet (Frankfurt), Stadtluft macht frei? Überlegungen zu den Leistungen der vormodernen Stadt für die europäische Geschichte

29.10. „Wasser als städtische Herausforderung“ 

  1. Gerhard Fouquet (Kiel), "Sintflut" – Hochwasser in Basel während der Jahre 1529 und 1530

  2. Oliver Wetter (Bern), Die Relevanz von Extremereignissen aus der Vormessperiode für die Risikobeurteilungen sensibler Infrastrukturen

12.11. „Siedlungstextur“

  1. Nicholas Cahill (Madison, USA), Standardized housing and diverse communities: the example of Olynthus in Ancient Greece
  2. Clara Weber (Zürich), A psychological perspective on residential appropriation in standardized housing environments

26.11. „Urbanitas - Verhaltenskonzepte von (städtischen) Eliten“

  1. Jörg Oberste (Regensburg), Reichtum verpflichtet - religiöse und soziale Strategien urbaner Eliten im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert
  2. Heinrich Best (Jena), Die Stadt, die Macht und das Geld – legitime und illegitime Herrschaft in Städten

17.12. „Planned negotiations“

  1. Armand Baeriswyl (Bern), Geplant oder Gewachsen? Mythen und Fakten zur Frage der mittelalterlichen «Gründungsstadt»
  2. Monika Grubbauer (Hamburg), Stadt von unten – aktuelle Ansätze von Beteiligung in Städtebau und Stadtplanung

07.01. „Stadtzentrum. Form, Gestaltung, Funktion“

  1. Gerald Schwedler (Kiel), Prestigeinfrastruktur. Urbane Zentrumsgestaltung im Spätmittelalter
  2. Carsten Benke (Berlin), Moderne Stadtzentren – Wandel von Funktion und Gestaltung im Städtebau seit 1900

21.01. „Flüchtlinge und Migration“

  1. Bent Gebert (Konstanz), Ästhetik der Migration
  2. Daniel Fuhrhop (Oldenburg), Willkommensstadt. Wo Flüchtlinge wohnen und Städte lebendig werden

04.02. „Tempel, Kirchen und Moscheen: Die Implementierung neuer Religionen im urbanen Kontext“

  1. Christiane Zimmermann (Kiel), Die Christianisierung von Korinth vom 1.-6. Jh.
  2. Bärbel Beinhauer-Köhler (Marburg), Die Islamisierung Kairos vom 7.-12. Jh.


Excavations at the fortified Bronze Age settlement Hundisburg-Olbetal

In August 2019, excavations will take place as part of the subcluster “ROOTS of Conflicts: Competition and Conciliation” at the fortified Bronze Age settlement Hundisburg-Olbetal (1500–1200 BCE) in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

In cooperation with the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Maria Wunderlich (contact/link) will conduct excavations in the inner area of the site. Previous geomagnetical prospection documented that this inner area is surrounded by a complex system of concentric deep ditches and is characterized by the presence of cultural layers and settlement pits that hint to intense settlement activities. The excavations will target these contexts in detail. It is expected that the results of these investigations will provide information to reconstruct the relationship between the enclosure and the inner area. Moreover, these investigations will support the contextualization of Hundisburg-Olbetal at a regional level.


Hundisburg-Olbetal. Map of the results of the geomagnetic investigations. The system of concentric ditches is clearly visible.


Call for Papers - Conference "Mentale Konzepte der Stadt in Bild- und Textmedien der Vormoderne"

Call for Papers:

"Mentale Konzepte der Stadt in Bild- und Textmedien der Vormoderne" Conference
Interdisciplinary Conference of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS (Subcluster Urban ROOTS)
11.-13.06.2020 CAU Kiel

Deadline for paper submission: October 15, 2019
More information (in German) here / hier
Contact: Dr. Margit Dahm-Kruse and Prof. Dr. Timo Felber
Link to Event here

ArchbotLit – The New Search Engine for Literature on Archaeological Remains of Cultivated Plants (June 24, 2019)

In the area of Environmental Archaeology/Archaeobotany at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology of Kiel University, an important tool has recently been established: with the literature database ArchbotLit on the wiki portal of Kiel University, a tool is now provided for specialists, students and interested members of the public in order to inform them about the history of cultivated plants. The database makes archaeobotanical literature on ancient crops accessible, which is otherwise scattered over a large number of international journals and excavation reports, but also in grey literature. The new wiki platform ArchbotLit is a sustainable continuation of the literature-based online database on archaeological remains of cultivated plants, which was developed by Helmut Kroll, Rainer Pasternak (both from Kiel) and Aleksandar Medović (Novi Sad), and includes literature from the years 1981-2004. ArchbotLit enables access to previous entries via online access at Kiel University and is currently successively expanded with new entries from international experts, including members of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and of the CRC 1266. This makes the ArchbotLit an important hub in which archaeobotanical literature from the worldwide community is bundled and kept up to date. The database makes it possible, for example, to find the earliest records of spelt for the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

ArchbotLit – LINK:


ROOTS Reflective Turn “Inequality” Workshop

Modern market economies are characterized by substantial wealth inequality. This is subject to contemporary concerns: the exploitation of work forces, violent conflicts, and mass migration, to provide a few examples. Studying past forms and dynamics of inequality enhances our understanding of present social inequality and its consequences.
Inequality is a firm topic in contemporary research agendas. On the one hand, with the increase of globalization and political populism, more attention has been drawn to the analysis of inequality by economic sciences. On the other hand, discussion has been raised concerning established concepts and methods in the study of inequality. Deep philosophical questions are associated with a perceptive understanding and analysis of inequality.
Where does archaeology and, more broadly, anthropological social theory stand with regard to the concept of inequality? In archaeology, we find both established theories and approaches as well as attempts to rethink inequality and its conceptual neighborhood. In the study of past societies, inequality is intimately linked to concepts of social complexity, power, competition and co-operation, and is consequently subject to broader questions of archaeological interpretation.
This workshop invites an interdisciplinary cast of specialists to Kiel to discuss the topic of inequality. In a productive environment, this event offers contributors ample opportunity to present and discuss their thoughts.

The workshop is for the entire team of ROOTS and is organized by Konrad Ott (contact/link), philosopher and principal investigator of ROOTS, and Vesa Arponen (contact/link), Gido Lukas (contact/link), and René Ohlrau (contact/link) from the ROOTS Reflective Turn Forum.

Confirmed speakers are:
Bill Angelbeck (Douglas College, Canada)
Vesa Arponen (Kiel University, Germany)
Reinhard Bernbeck (FU Berlin, Germany)
T. L. Thurston (University at Buffalo, USA)
Elizabeth DeMarrais (University of Cambridge, UK)
Martin Furholt (University of Oslo, Norway)
John Robb (University of Cambridge, UK)
Bernd Simon (Kiel University, Germany)
Orri Vésteinsson (University of Iceland)

Date: 18-19 October 2019
Place: Kiel University, room: LS1 - R. 209a und 209b

The workshop starts on 18 October at 9:00 a.m.


Abstracts and timetable


ROOTS Workshop on "Quantifying Social Inequalities"

ROOTS Workshop

Quantifying Social Inequalities –
New Proxies, New Methods? Possibilities and Limitations to Determine Social Inequalities in Archaeological Contexts

Social inequality is a subject of contemporary concern. Studying past forms and dynamics of inequality enhances our understanding of present social inequality and its consequences. The integration of empirical data from past archives is an enduring challenge in determining social inequality. Methods derived from economics and paleoanthropology, for example, are increasingly used to quantify social inequality in archaeological contexts.

Organised by Dr. Ralph Grossmann (contact/link) in the framework of the activities conducted by the subcluster ROOTS of Inequalities, this workshop will address the current state of research and will gain new insights on the study of past social inequality. Young researchers from different disciplines will gather in Kiel in order to discuss the diverse socio-cultural processes involved in the creation of social inequality as well as multiple methods in quantifying social inequality in past societies. Furthermore, it is expected that the workshop will reflect on the relationship between gained data and models of social inequalities.

Confirmed speakers are: Timothy J. Dennehy and Adrian Chase, Arizona University; Marta Cintas Peña, Seville University; Penny Bickle, University of York; Julian Laabs, Bern University; Arne Windler, Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Vesa P. J. Arponen and Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Kiel University.

Date: 7–8 October 2019 (Start: Monday, 7 October 2019, 02:00 p.m.)
Place: Kiel University, Leibnizstraße 1, R. 105





PhD International Seminar and Workshop 12-24 March 2018 in Kohima in Nagaland, India

The Department of History and Archaeology,  Nagaland University, invited junior and senior scientists to discuss matters of monumentality from different viewpoints: the international PhD Seminar “Building Big? Global Scales of Monumentality – an ethnoarchaeological perspective” and the subsequent workshop “Hierarchy and Balance: the role of monumentality in European and North-East Indian Landscapes” took place at the Kohima Campus (Meriema) in Nagaland from 12-24 March 2018. The events were jointly organised by the Nordic School of Archaeology “Dialogues with the Past” (Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway), the CRC 1266 and the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” (GS HDL) at Kiel University.
Central issue of the events was monumentality as an exceptionally diverse and broad phenomenon in archaeological research across the world that occurs in different prehistorical and historical settings. By presenting and discussing papers on different topics, the 5-day PhD seminar concentrates on the significance, meaning and interpretations of monumentality. Major research objectives addressed during the meeting were:

  • 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) provided comparative perspectives on different forms and aspects of monumentality. In the context of the surrounding monumental architecture of the Nagaland Region and with the expertise of participating specialists from Northeast India, these events draw special attention to the “Naga Megaliths”, a connecting facet of the daily experience.
As one main organisers and supporters of the events, the PhD candidate Maria Wunderlich and CRC 1266 and GSHDL speaker Johannes Müller contributed with their long-term experience in research on prehistoric monumentality in Europe achieved during the DFG Priority Programme 1400 “Early monumentality and Social Differentiation”.
Johannes Müller described his staying in India as following: “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 (contact), the workshop offered important ethnoarchaeological insights into rituals and practices of monumental stone architecture that will help her to complete her PhD research on “Theories on Neolithic Monumentality”, that she is conducting in the frame of the CRC 1266 subproject A1 “Theories of Transformation in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies”. Liudmila Shatilo (contact), PhD candidate for the CRC 1266 subproject D1 “Population agglomerations at Tripolye-Cucuteni mega-sites”, also addresses questions related to monumentality in respect to mega-structures. Mariana Vasilache-Curoșu, PhD candidate and guest of the CRC 1266, also joined the events.


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions