Projects: ROOTS of Inequalities

  The colours correspond to the research topics 1-4. The ROOTS of Inequalities projects are encircled according to their spatial dimensions.

ROOTS of Inequalities defines inequality as the question of access to material and immaterial resources (natural and social). ROOTS of Inequalities aims to systematically scrutinise (1) evidence for and the measurement of inequality and its spatial and temporal variation, (2) the dynamics of the emergence, persistence, change, and dissolution of inequality, and (3) the societal consequences of inequality (Click for more information on Subcluster ROOTS of Inequalities).
According to these research aims, a structured research agenda integrates diverse data and approaches. Archaeologists carry out ongoing fieldwork, searching for archaeological evidence of social inequality, whereas economists contribute with method development on inequality measurements and the possibility to calibrate their models with archaeological and historical data.  Computational archaeology integrates the different data concepts into a general data concept,  whereby sociolinguists analyse the role of language in non-literate and literate societies.

Overall, the focus topics (T1–T4) link to other subclusters, such as T1 to Urban ROOTS, T2 to ROOTS of Socio-environmental Hazards (i.e. the impact of inequality on environmental hazards) and Dietary ROOTS (food resources), and T3 to Knowledge ROOTS and ROOTS of Conflict.

ROOTS of InequalitiesConceptual approach of the subcluster ROOTS of Inequalities.

The research projects are divided into five categories:

T1 / European social (pre)history reloaded:

On a European scale, the quantification of material culture and its relations to resources will be mapped with social indices that are used for modern economies. Social parameters from archaeological, historical, and environmental archives will be quantified. Information on the connectivity of societies in space (exchange of goods and gifts) and time (durable and cycled goods and gifts) will be used to make evidence commensurable and to track inequality and its variation in space and time.
T1_1 Archaeological Quantification of Prehistoric Social Inequality / Tim Kerig
T1_2 Atlantic to Altai Burial Mounds: Inequality Proxy / Johannes Müller, Henny Piezonka, Julian Laabs
T1_3 Neolithic to Early Mediaeval Inequality in Southwest Germany / Ralph Grossmann

T2 / Natural resources and social inequality:

Studies on social organization, settlement, fortifications, mobility, and economy will be connected to environmental parameters to clarify how availability and
patterns of utilizing natural resources influenced social structure and social inequality.
T2_1 Early Fortifications in the Taiga (7th millennium) / Henny Piezonka
T2_2 Fortified Hunter-Gatherer Settlements of West Siberia (6000 BCE-1800 CE) / Tanja Schreiber
T2_3 LG-Holocene Delzian Plain as an Economic Landscape / Tim Kerig

T3 / Social connectivity and globalization:

Local and regional analyses of published and excavated archaeological data will be used to analyse the role of social connectivities in their spatial and temporal dimensions with a focus on material culture styles and technologies as well as pertinent socio-linguistic evidence for the emergence, persistence, change and dissolution of inequality.

T3_1 Early Burial Mounds in Central Europe / Johannes Müller
T3_2 Burial Mounds of the South Caucasus (4000-1 BCE) / Andrea Ricci and Jutta Kneisel
T3_3 Socio-linguistics (India) / NN

T4 / Carpathian social inequality:

The Carpathian Basin (CB) and its adjacent mountain ranges are
an excellent laboratory to address the aims of ROOTS of Inequality. It represents a highly variable
landscape with diverse environmental conditions, a variety of available raw materials and differing
conditions for regional communication. This setting has facilitated the development of very different
forms of social organisation.

T4_1 Social Inequality in the Carpathians (Neo-BA) / Fynn Wilkes
T4_2 Inequality and Violence in East Central Europe (Meso-EBA) / Henry Skorna

T5 / Method development:

Method development is being driven forward, particularly in the fields of economics and archaeoinformatics, but also in the processing of new scientific data.

T5_1 Economic Approaches to Inequality / Till Requate, Johannes Bröcker
T5_2 Archaeoinformatics and Inequality / Matthias Renz
T5_3 Isotope Analyses und Burial Data / Christine Winter-Schuh and Ralph Grossmann
T5_4 Philosophy, Archaeology and Inequality: Theory Development / Vesa Arponen, Konrad Ott


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions