Cluster of Excellence ROOTS - Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies


Archaeology in Kiel ranks among the best worldwide

In the QS World University Ranking by subject, Kiel University is among the top 15 for the first time in the field of archaeology. more ...


Kiel Research Statement against War

In the Cluster of Excellence ‘ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies’ and the CRC 1266 ‘Scales of Transformations’, we have members and partners in and from Ukraine… more




Link to German version of the ROOTS imagefilm

The Cluster of Excellence ROOTS explores the roots of social, environmental, and cultural phenomena and processes that substantially marked past human development. In a broad interdisciplinary conceptual framework, archaeological and historical ‘laboratories’ are investigated under the basic assumption that humans and environments have deeply shaped each other, creating socio-environmental connectivities which still persist today. A better understanding of interwoven past socio-environmental dynamics will shed light on the ‘roots’ of current challenges and crises under diverse economic, ecological, and social conditions.

The six subclusters investigate key dimensions of the ‘human condition’ with specific research questions. They also jointly address overreaching themes, such as mobility and migration, resources and economy, and ideology and identity in standing cross-sectional workgroups. The ‘Reflective Turn Forum’ applies a hermeneutic approach enabling ROOTS to embrace the manifold theoretical and practical approaches of the individual research units and therefore to reach an overarching epistemological and interpretative research dialogue. Within the broad interdisciplinary frame of ROOTS, the post-doctoral researchers and the doctoral candidates are hosted by the ROOTS Young Academy, which offers excellent conditions and unique career perspectives from scientific success and personal development. Furthermore, three extended research platforms for infrastructural advances support the integrated ROOTS research on past social environmental and cultural change.

ROOTS Figure



Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions