Congratulations to Jens Schneeweiss for his new DFG project INHILLDAUGAR

New DFG Project

Congratulations to Jens Schneeweiss, research associate in the subcluster ROOTS of Conflict (link), for his new project “INHILLDAUGAR - Interdisciplinary Hillfort Studies at the Daugava River: Merging and Decoding Archaeological, Environmental and Linguistic Data”. This project was recently financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the National Science Centre, Poland in the framework of the Beethoven CLASSIC4 joint project program for the 2022-2025 period.

In cooperation with Piotr Kittel from the University of Łódź, Poland (link) and colleagues from Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA) in Schleswig (link), Potsdam University, Germany, the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, the Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland, and the University of Latvia, the INHILLDAUGAR project focuses on understanding historical conflicts along the Daugava River. This river was one of the most important gateways between the Baltic Sea and the Trans Eastern Europe waterways and emerged as central trade route during the Middle Ages. Approximately 30 fortified settlements have been identified along the 350 km long Latvian section of the river, testifying to the use and control of this waterway. Despite their considerable number, concentration and historical importance, these hillforts are still inconsistently studied. By combining palaeoenvironmental studies, archaeological investigations and language history, the INHILLDAUGAR project will investigate the archaeological river landscape of the Daugava Basin in order to allow for interpretations regarding patterns of historical development in the Baltic-Slavic-Scandinavian contact area. In particular, INHILLDAUGAR will examine different aspects of fortifications along the Daugava River in order to address central research questions concerning chronology, functions, maintenance, demography, and conflict potential.

An important focus of the project will be the analysis of historical conflict resolution along the Daugava River by applying theoretical models of escalation and de-escalation processes developed within the Subcluster ROOTS of Conflict. One of the goals of the project is to jointly model the mechanisms of ethnic and social conflicts in the area, such as rivalry for the control over Daugava waterway, as well as to shed light on the role of environmental conditions. It is expected that this innovative approach of interpreting fortifications in the context of differing interests, social inequality, ethnic or religious differences will lead to new interpretation of known structures.

The cooperation between German, Polish and Latvian researchers within the INHILLDAUGAR project is crucial to better understand Latvian fortifications and to create new research perspectives for the study of the Daugava hillforts and hillfort research in the Baltic Sea region in general.

Fig. 1: Research status categories of the accessible hillforts of the Daugava Valley (after A. Vasks, 2021. Pilskalni. In: A. Vasks, G. Zariņa (eds.), Latvijas Arheoloģijas rokasgrāmata.)



New DFG Project
Fig. 2: Daugmale Hillfort (Daugmales pilskalns): medieval archaeological context, DTM, archive and present photographs (after M. Mägi, 2015. Chapter 4. Bound for the Eastern Baltic: Trade and Centres AD 800–1200. In: Barrett, J., Gibbon, S. (eds.) Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World. Maney Publishing, 41-61, and

Honorary Professorship for Prehistoric Archaeology at Kiel University

Appointment strengthens research collaboration between the Kiel Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA)

Berit EriksenGottorf archaeologist, Dr Berit Valentin Eriksen, has been appointed Honorary Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Kiel University (CAU) (Photo: S. Philipsen)

The Gottorf archaeologist, Dr Berit Valentin Eriksen, has been appointed Honorary Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Kiel University (CAU) on the recommendation of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. In addition to her merits in archaeological research, teaching and the development of young research talents, her international reputation in the field of prehistoric hunter-gatherer archaeology, as well as in the field of cognitive archaeology at the interface between stone and metal technologies in early metal-using societies, was decisive for the appointment.

Born in Denmark, Eriksen has been a Scientific Director of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA; link) at the Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Foundation Schloss Gottorf since 2009. As an affiliated institution of Kiel University, the foundation and thus also the ZBSA is one of its most important cooperation partners, and the ZBSA (link), in particular, cooperates very closely with the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology in research and teaching. The participation of the ZBSA was also a decisive factor for the approval of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and the CRC 1266, two scientific collaborative research projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Berit Eriksen is an active member of the Cluster of Excellence ‘ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies’ and a founding member of the ROOTS Subcluster 3 ‘Knowledge ROOTS: Innovation, Cognition, and Technology’ (link). Furthermore, she is a member of the Johanna Mestorf Academy where she has served as an academic host to a number of high-profiled academic guests from around the world. Moreover, she is a Principle Investigator in CRC 1266 ‘Scales of Transformation – Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies’ (link).

“The appointment as Honorary Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology confirms the close networking between our institutions (ZBSA and CAU), and strengthens the development of further joint research projects within prehistoric archaeology. It is a great honour and motivation for me at the same time,” remarks Eriksen happily.

‘Bildwanderungen – Bildtransporte’: The Augustan World of Images beyond the Alps

Bildwanderungen BildtransporteToday we are living in a world in which images are omnipresent and where they have a constant impact on our everyday lives. Images are known from almost all epochs and cultures of humankind, so one can say: creating images is a part of being human. But why are we living a life with images?
The exhibition “Bildwanderungen – Bildtransporte: The Augustan World of Images beyond the Alps” addresses this question by using the example of the encounter between the Roman culture rich in imagery and the population of the territories north of the Alps, which had no ‘image-culture’ until then. More than 2000 years ago, during the reign of Emperor Augustus (31 BC–AD 14), these territories had become part of the Roman Empire. The exhibition focuses on a variety of imported and locally produced images, which were particularly associated with those people who came to the north from the Mediterranean region as soldiers, traders or craftsmen.

Exhibition of the Antiquities Collection at Kiel Art Museum (Antikensammlung, Kunsthalle zu Kiel)

Date: 16 October 2021- 16 January 2022
The flyer can be found here
For more information click here

Bildwanderungen Bildtransporte Flyer

Ötzi, Bones and Strawberry DNA – Researchers from F4/Dietary ROOTS at Groß Vollstedt Primary School

Dietary ROOTS at Groß Vollstedt Primary School
No shyness: The medieval bones from Lübeck that Ben Krause-Kyora and Katharina Fuchs had in their science luggage arouse great excitement among the pupils of the 3rd and 4th grade at Groß Vollsted primary school. Full concentration also when experimenting with strawberries "Is this slime here DNA?" (Photos: Friederike Flachsbart, teacher of the class; used with kind permission of the parents).

"Have you ever dug up a dinosaur?"
"Is that a real bone? How old is it?"
"Who was Ötzi's murderer? And why did he escape into the mountains?"
"Wow, a mammoth tooth is sooo big... did people really eat mammoth in the past?"
"Is this slime here the DNA?"

The children from the 3rd and 4th grades of Groß Vollstedt primary school were thrilled by the stories that Katharina Fuchs and Ben Krause-Kyora, researchers in the ROOTS Subcluster Dietary (link), dug up from the past and from their laboratory cupboards. For five hours, they listened with rapt attention about the decisive turns that human history took during the Stone Age, why the ice mummy Ötzi is so valuable for bioarchaeological research, and what old skeletons can tell us about past life. Without fear of contact, they marveled at how big a mammoth tooth was, how different the lower jaws of men and women looked in the Middle Ages, and how razor-sharp that Stone Age tools were. The children showed great talent in a biological experiment in which they extracted DNA from strawberries with the help of conventional household products such as salt and washing-up liquid. Krause-Kyora and Fuchs were impressed by the children. "With such inquisitiveness, the time flew by! This shows how important these topics are for early knowledge transfer. The children will remember this for a long time – and who knows, maybe we have archaeologists of the next generation in front of us here ..." reflects Krause-Kyora. Fuchs adds, "The children's enthusiasm is overflowing! This school day was a nice change from our scientific ivory tower and showed me how easily bridges can be built to the youngest in our society. Definitely something that should play a bigger role in our scientists’ working routine. We were very delighted that the primary teacher, Friederike Flachsbart, invited us to her class room".

„Boas Walks“: Revisiting the Key Venues of a Pioneer of Modern Anthropology in Kiel

Boas Walks

The “Boas Walks” is a student initiative aiming to show the participants of the “Boas Talks” colloquium (18-21 November) and everyone interested in the history of Kiel or cultural anthropology, the most crucial places that Franz Boas would have frequented in Kiel. The excursion is organized and will be led by two students of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology – Hannah Keller and Wiebke Mainusch.

During the walk, we will be visiting the key places and commemorating the events of two distinct time phases:
1. Boas’ years of study in Kiel, at the end of the 19th century
2. The period of National Socialism in Germany.

Postcard of main building of Kiel University fom 1905

Postcard of a colorized photo showing the main building of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in the Schlosspark with a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm in the front and the library on the left, ca. 1905 (Fotoarchiv des Stadtarchiv Kiel, Sign. 98.491)

In 1879 Franz Boas moved to Kiel to work on his dissertation in physics under the supervision of Prof. Gustav Karsten; within his dissertation, which he finished in 1881, Boas was researching the optical properties of water. However, he also chose to move to Northern Germany in order to stay with his sister Toni, who was being treated here by Dr. Friedrich Esmarch - one of the most acknowledged medical experts of the time.
Later, in 1931, Boas returned to Kiel to hold a speech in honour of the 50th anniversary of his dissertation. At that time, he was already speaking as a famous researcher. Franz Boas’ talk was devoted to “race and culture”, a topic he returned to again and again during his professional life. Just two years later, his writings were listed to be burned in the fascist book burnings, which were organized and celebrated by right-wing students and citizens in Kiel.
The Boas Walks will start on November 18th, 15:00 h at the Bus stop "Hospitalstraße". Starting at this point is no coincidence – it is the exact location where Franz Boas must have headed when first coming to Kiel since it is the place where his first flat and the hospital were located.
Although Kiel might look very different today than when Boas stayed here, we are confident that tracking along these various focal points will give us a glimpse of the experience he might have had. When Franz Boas arrived in Northern Germany for the first time, it was around the same time of the year. And even though most of the actual buildings he visited do not exist anymore, we will be providing various historic pictures, maps, and other additional information to take a deep look into the city’s turbulent history through the lens of Boas’ stays here.

 Franz Boas
Franz Boas during his studies in Kiel (Cole 1999, 94)

Map of Kiel 1869Map of Kiel, 1869 (Gustav Ludolph Martens, Verlag der Universitätsbuchhandlung Kiel, 1871)

View of the old city ca. 1865
View of the old city, ca. 1865, this photo was taken in the Brunswiker Straße and should be quite similar to the view Boas would have had from his first flat in Kiel (Fotoarchiv des Stadtarchiv Kiel, Sign. 80.696)


"Boas Walks"
Date: 18 November 2021, 15:00-17:00h
Meeting point: Bus stop "Hospitalstraße"

Boas Walks is part of the "Boas Talks" colloquium
Date: 18-21 November 2021 at Kiel University
For futher information about the conference "Boas Talks" click here


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions