Fieldwork and Activities

Workshop "Public Participation in Archaeological Research: Opportunities and Limitations"

Workshop Citizen science© Heritage Quest

Organised by the ROOTS Communication Platform, the workshop “Public Participation in Archaeological Research: Opportunities and Limitations” convenes an international group of scholars to discuss the potential for, and limits of, a critical citizen science of archaeology.

With a long history of volunteer participation and great potential for piquing public interest in cultural heritage, archaeology offers fertile ground for cultivating new models of citizen science research. Yet, thus far, archaeological engagements with citizen science have been limited, drawing principally on crowd-sourced data analysis to inform research aims. In this workshop, we inquire into innovative models and possibilities of public engagement with archaeology. Is a critical, engaged citizen science of archaeology possible? What would this mean for the formulation of research questions, development of research methods, aspects of research ethics, funding scheme, and practical partnerships in fieldwork or remote cooperations? What are the specific challenges and opportunities posed by pursuing rigorous public engagement through the model of citizen science research in archaeology? 



Monday, 07 June 2021 / 14:00 - 18:00 h

14:00-14:15 Welcome / Ilka Parchmann and Andrea Ricci
14:15-15:00 Keynote: Carenza Lewis / Participatory public archaeology CAN simultaneously benefit heritage and people: Evidence, insights and models from recent projects in the UK and Europe
15:00-15:45 Keynote: Monica Smith / Creating a Philosophy of Being and Doing: What is a Citizen and What is Science?
15:45-16:00 Break
16:00-16:20 Antonia Davidovic / Boundary making in hybrid zones. Analysing the differences and similarities between professionals and volunteers
16:20-16:40 Katharina Möller / Public participation in archaeology in Germany and the UK
16:40-17:00 Kerstin Kowarik / Experimental and sustainable: New approaches to public participation in archaeological research
17:00-17:20 Eva Kaptijn / Heritage Quest: Citizen scientists in search of archaeological heritage in the Netherlands
17:20-18:00 Discussion
19:30-ca. 21:00 Spatial Chat with Dinner

Tuesday, 08 June 2021 / 09:00-13:00 h

9:00-9:10 Welcome back and introduction to the morning schedule
09:10 - 9:45 Workshop Breakout Rooms
9:45-10:10 Group conversation
10:10-10:20 Break
10:20– 10:40 Ulf Ickerodt / 200 years of citizen science: Archaeological databases as an interface between different research interests
Jochim Weise / Metal prospecting in Corona times: What has changed?
10:40-11:00 Andres Dobat (Minos) / Private metal detecting as citizen science in Denmark
11:00-11:20 Silke Voigt-Heucke / Citizens create knowledge: Citizen science as a research approach
11:20-11:30 Discussion
11:30-11:35 Break
11:35-12:35 Breakout Rooms
12:35-13:00 Final Discussion


This workshop is organised by the ROOTS Communication Platform and is open to all members of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS.
Contact: Ilka Rau
Download Programme and Abstracts here

Stormy fieldwork on Hallig Hooge

Wadden Sea
The North Sea waves wash over the low summer dike of Hallig Hooge during storm (picture: Bente Majchczack).

During the first week of May 2021, members of the ROOTS Wadden Sea Project (link) and colleagues from the DFG Rungholt-Project conducted a week of geophysical fieldwork on Hallig Hooge, one of the small tidal islands in the German North Frisian Wadden Sea.
In search of High Medieval settlement remains, the team took advantages of favorable tides to continue last year's prospections (link) in the tidal flats surrounding Hooge. The activities started with unforeseen difficulties: on the first day, westerly winds prevented a tidal creek from running dry, denying access to a promising portion of the tidal flats.
In this area, a previously unknown Medieval dike had already been mapped with the implementation of high-precision drone photography. The intention was to study the dike in more detail. Unfortunately, the vagaries of the tides prevented the measurement and proved once again that the Wadden Sea is a difficult and unpredictable landscape for research.
In the following two days, the westerly winds ran up to gale force 10. The water level rose steadily until the waves of the North Sea occasionally crashed over the Hallig's low summer dike. For the team, this was a special opportunity to imagine the living conditions of the Medieval settlers: What was it like in the 14th century to stand on a terp during a storm and watch the water pound over the protective dike? What was it like to not know if the dike could withstand the storm or whether the terp would prove to be built high enough? This was a truly immersive experience of human-environmental relations for the team!
Despite the storm, it was possible to carry out measurements on the Hallig. An early Medieval site could be surveyed with electromagnetic induction (EMI) and ground penetrating radar. What the magnetics already indicated as a possible dwelling mound was revealed as a rectangular elevation below the younger Hallig sediments. According to earlier pottery finds, this could be one of the oldest settlements dating to the 8th/9th century AD, when settlers first had to react to rising water levels and frequent flooding by building terps. A first archaeological excavation on the site is scheduled for July 2021.
By Thursday, the storm had calmed down and it was possible to resume measurements in the tidal flats. As historical records report, a church parish called Hooge was lost to the great storm flood of 1362. During the 1970s, numerous graves were found south of Hooge on the bank of a tidal creek, revealing the location of a former church terp. In 2020, it was possible to map the entire terp site using magnetic gradiometry. Besides the high Medieval terp, numerous traces of younger peat quarries and a dyke structure were identified. During this first 2021 field season, it was possible to refine these previous measurements with EMI, getting a more precise picture of the dike structure associated with the peat quarries and parts of the terp. As the Medieval settlement structures continue in several directions underneath the tidal flats, there is much more potential for further detailed prospections: stay tuned!

Wadden Sea
Dennis Wilken and Bente Majchczack performing EMI measurements on a typical peat quarry site near Hallig Hooge (picture: Ruth Blankenfeldt, ZBSA).

The Wadden Sea project is currently receiving media coverage:
15.05.2021: The first fieldwork in March 2021 led the team into the famous Rungholt-tidal flats near Hallig Südfall and was extensively covered in the Saturday-issue of all sh:z newspapers ("Die mühsame Suche nach den Spuren Rungholts", in Schleswig-Holstein am Wochenende 15./16.05.; page 4-7).
23.05.2021: Radio-feature about the nature and history of the Halligen and the Wadden Sea with coverage of the Rungholt-research: Deutschlandfunk, "Sonntagsspaziergang" at 11:30am-1:00pm
25.05.2021: Radio-feature about one century of Rungholt-research up to the latest advancements in geophysical and geomorphological methods: WDR-5, "neugier genügt" at 10:04am-12:00pm


Conference: "Mentale Konzepte der Stadt in Bild- und Textmedien der Vormoderne"

Mentale Konzepte

The conference "Mentale Konzepte der Stadt in Bild- und Textmedien der Vormoderne" aims to discuss mental concepts of the city in dialogue with pre-modern literary and historical studies, archaeology, religious studies and art history. The focus is not only on the remains of real historical cities or historical documents of urban constitution, but above all on textual and visual representations of the city and urbanity in various media forms of the pre-modern era.

The conference will be held in German.


Die Tagung setzt sich das Ziel, mentale Konzepte von Stadt im Dialog der vormodernen Literatur- und Geschichtswissenschaften, der Archäologie, der Religionswissenschaften sowie der Kunstgeschichte zu diskutieren. Im Fokus stehen nicht nur die Überreste realhistorischer Städte oder historische Dokumente urbaner Verfasstheit, sondern vor allem textuelle und visuelle Repräsentationen von Stadt und Urbanität in verschiedenen medialen Formen der Vormoderne.

Untersucht werden erstens die unterschiedlich ausgestalteten Formen der Präsentation von urbanen Topographien. Hierbei gilt es, topische wie auch spezifische Darstellungsmittel in ihrer wirkungsästhetischen Dimension und semiotischen Signifikanz zu beleuchten. Neben den Formen wird nach den Funktionen der verschiedenen medialen Stadtentwürfe gefragt, also nach den Bedeutungskonzepten, denen diese verpflichtet sind, nach den symbolischen Zuschreibungen, die sie erfahren, und nach der Intention, mit der sie eingesetzt werden. Ein besonderes Augenmerk liegt dabei auf mentalen Konzepten von Städten, die an religiösen Mustern und deren symbolischen Qualitäten partizipieren. Zum Dritten gilt es, dem Zusammenspiel von medialem Stadtentwurf und historischen bzw. soziokulturellen Kontexten nachzugehen. Es wird diskutiert, inwieweit textuelle und bildliche Darstellungen auf historische Entwicklungen der Urbanisierung rekurrieren, die abgebildet, kommentiert oder diskursiv verhandelt werden.


Donnerstag, 10. Juni 2021
13:00-13:30 Begrüßung
Sektion I
Formen der Präsentation urbaner Topographien
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Annette Haug

13:30-14:30 Dr. Markus Zimmermann (Bayreuth/Alte Geschichte) / Was macht eine Stadt zur Stadt? Vorstellungen von Städten in literarischen Texten der griechisch-römischen Antike
14:30-15:30 Dr. Marcel Danner (Würzburg/ Archäologie) / Quam magnificus in publicum es! Zu Darstellungen urbaner Architektur in der römischen Staatskunst
15:30-16:00 Pause – Möglichkeit zum Austausch im virtuellen Pausenraum
16:00-17:00 Prof. Dr. Harald Wolter-von dem Knesebeck (Bonn/Kunstgeschichte) / Mentale Konzepte der Stadt in der frühen profanen Malerei (vor 1350)
17:00-18:00 Dr. Kerstin Geßner (Berlin/Archäologie) / Weltbilder. Die mittelalterliche Stadt als mappa mundi
18:00-19:00 Abendvortrag / Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gert Melville (Dresden/Mittelalterliche Geschichte) / Das Imaginaire der mittelalterlichen Stadt

Freitag, 11. Juni 2021
Sektion II
Funktionen medialer Stadtentwürfe und symbolische Zuschreibungen
Moderation (9:00-12:30 Uhr): Prof. Dr. Gerald Schwedler

Moderation (13:30-19:00 Uhr): Marcus Martin, M.A.

09:00-10:00 Prof. Dr. Ulrich Müller (Kiel/Ur- und Frühgeschichte) / Zwischen Wunsch und Befund – die Produktion der mittelalterlichen Stadt aus archäologischer Perspektive
10:00-11:00 Prof. Dr. Susanne Luther (Göttingen/Theologie) / Das himmlische Jerusalem der Johannesapokalypse: Ästhetik und Ethik einer frühchristlichen Stadtbeschreibung
11:00-11:30 Pause – Möglichkeit zum Austausch im virtuellen Pausenraum
11:30-12:30 PD Dr. Iris Grötecke (Frechen/Köln/Kunstgeschichte) / Nordalpine Stadt und fremde Ferne: Jerusalem zwischen Aneignung und Differenzwahrnehmung
12:30-13:30 Pause – Möglichkeit zum Austausch im virtuellen Pausenraum
13:30-14:30 Prof. Dr. Edith Feistner (Regensburg/Germanistik) / Städte als Geschichtskörper: Raum und Zeit in Chroniken von Stephan Fridolin, Sigismund Meisterlin und Hartmann Schedel
14:30-15:30 Dr. Daniel Eder (Göttingen/Germanistik) / dese en willen’s neit gestaden, / dat yeman Coelne moge
schaden. Stadtheilige als Schutz der Sancta Colonia in der Kölner Stadtchronistik
15:30-16:00 Pause – Möglichkeit zum Austausch im virtuellen Pausenraum
16:00-17:00 Dr. Lea Braun (Berlin/Germanistik) / Die Stadt, die keine ist? Städte und Stadtdeskriptionen in Wolframs von Eschenbach ‚Parzival‘
17:00-18:00 Anna Katharina Nachtsheim, M.A. M.Ed. (Bonn/Germanistik) / wan diu borch was sô getân, / daz siz allez mite betwank. Zur literarischen Engführung von städtischer Szenerie und weiblicher Figur in mittelhochdeutscher Epik
18:00-19:00 Dr. Verena Ebermeier (Regensburg/Germanistik) / Stadt ohne Bewohner – Urbanität als metaphysisches Konzept

Samstag, 12. Juni 2021
Sektion III
Soziokulturelle Kontexte medialer Stadtentwürfe
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Andreas Bihrer

09:00-10:00 PD Dr. Klaus Kipf (München/Germanistik) / Prof. Dr. Jörg Schwarz (Innsbruck/Mittelalterliche
Geschichte) / Stadt hoch zwei? Die Thematisierung der Stadt in der städtischen Literatur und der Historiographie des Spätmittelalters
10:00-11:00 Dr. Christoph Pretzer (Bern/Germanistik) / Sag, herre got, sag an, / warumb hâstû daz getân – Ottokars aus der Gaal Buch von Akkon als mittelhochdeutsche Städteklage
11:00-11:30 Pause – Möglichkeit zum Austausch im virtuellen Pausenraum
11:30-12:30 Markus Jansen, M.A. (Köln/Geschichte) / Die große Schlacht und ihr später Held. Die wehrhafte Gemeinde als Repräsentantin der Stadt Köln im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert.
12:30-13:30 Abschlussdiskussion


Tagungsleitung: JProf. Dr. Margit Dahm und Prof. Dr. Timo Felber
Anmeldung / Kontakt: Wiebke Witt /

Wir bitten um Anmeldung zur Tagung bis zum 01.06.2021.

Download Flyer here
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Workshop "Soothing Gardens"

Soothing Gardens
Ancient ideas and practices about plants, natural environments and well-being

This workshop aims at discussing gardens in ancient (mostly Greco-Roman) cultures and practices, with particular attention to ideals of well-being and therapeutical measures. Our intention is to explore concrete experiences and activities: from the subjectivity of sensorial experience (smelling, seeing and hearing in the pleasures a garden offers) to material aspects (recipes, the trade and availability of ingredients, instruments, techniques and practices).


1:30-1:45 p.m.
Dana Zentgraf/Chiara Thumiger: Welcome and introduction

1:45-2:45 p.m.
Laurence Totelin: Plant imports in the Greek and Roman worlds: imaging the other's gardens

2:45-3:45 p.m.
Patty Baker: Roman Conceptions of Wellbeing: Sensory Experiences and Flower Crowns

3:45-4:00 p.m.

4:00-5:00 p.m.
Sean Coughlin: Recreating the Pleasures of Scent in the Greco-Egyptian and Greco-Roman World

5:00-6:00 p.m.
Grazia Piras: Bringing Classical wellbeing practices into everyday’ life

6:00-6:15 p.m.

Laurence Totelin: Plant imports in the Greek and Roman worlds: imaging the other's gardens

Soothing Gardens ROOTS
Garden Party of Ashurbanipal

The Greeks and the Romans imported many of the plants they used in the production of medicines, cosmetics, and perfumes from regions beyond the boundaries of their empires, in particular from the Middle East and Arabia. With those plants travelled stories of the wondrous gardens or wild regions in which they grew, the fantastic animals that protected them, and the rituals involved in collecting them. These stories, some of which are preserved, offer an insight into how Greeks and Romans perceived 'foreign' gardens as places of eudaimonia, but also of lurking dangers, of threats to their identity. In this paper, I examine several of these stories and reflect on the ways in which the Greeks and the Romans both appropriated and othered imported products in their search for healing and wellbeing.  
Laurence Totelin is Reader in Ancient History at Cardiff University. She is a historian of Greek and Roman science, technology, and medicine, and her research focuses on ancient botany, pharmacology, and gynaecology. Her key works include Hippocratic Recipes: Oral and Written Transmission of Pharmacological Knowledge in Fifth- and Fourth-Century Greece (Brill, 2007); Ancient Botany, with botanist Gavin Hardy (Routledge, 2016); Medicine and Markets in the Graeco-Roman World and Beyond, edited with Rebecca Flemming (Classical Press of Wales, 2020); and Bodily Fluids in Antiquity, edited with Mark Bradley and Victoria Leonard (Routledge, 2021).

Patricia Baker: Roman Conceptions of Wellbeing: Sensory Experiences and Flower Crowns

Soothing Gardens ROOTS
Example of a flower crown based on Greco-Roman descriptions

The history and archaeology of Greco-Roman flower crowns are the main topics of this presentation. I begin by explaining how my study of flower crowns developed out of my research which demonstrates how the Romans believed that the sensory experiences they had in salubrious spaces, such as gardens, were conducive to mental and physical health and wellbeing. Crowns, too, were said by ancient writers to have some health-giving properties that are similar to those had in natural spaces and gardens.
Following the introduction, I use experimental archaeology to demonstrate how I think Roman crowns were made and the types of flowers and greenery used in them. I will also explain the sensory experiences I have when I create and wear them.
Finally, I consider the reception of ancient techniques by floral designers today. Flower crowns are still popular for special occasions, but they are far from environmentally friendly. By using ancient techniques our understanding of Greco-Roman perceptions can help florists and wearers of the crowns chose a more environmentally friendly option. At the same time, creating these crowns also has benefits for mental focus. Thus, I conclude by asking what a Roman technique can teach us about environmental sustainability today and how their perceptions of natural materials might benefit our mental wellbeing.
Dr. Patty Baker is an affiliated scholar and adjunct instructor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech. She is also founder of the online teaching forum, Pax in Natura ( which is a public outreach forum that explores what we can learn from the ancient history and archaeology of gardens, landscapes, floral design, and medicine, to further awareness and find new ways of approaching environmental and personal wellbeing issues today. She has published widely on ancient medicine and most recently her work has focused on sensory experiences in ancient gardens that was thought to promote health and wellbeing. Alongside her academic and outreach work, she is a floral designer. Currently, she is completing a book aimed at both historians and florists on Greco-Roman floral design. She has also worked at Florida State, U.S.A., the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and the University of Kent, UK.
Recent/larger Publications

  • 2018 “Identifying the Connection between Roman Conceptions of ‘Pure Air’ and Physical and Mental Health in Pompeian Gardens (c.150 BC–AD 79): a Multi-sensory Approach to Ancient Medicine.” World Archaeology 50 (3): 404-17.
  • 2017 “Viewing Health: Asclepia in their Natural Settings.” Religion in the Roman Empire 3 (2), 143-63.
  • 2013 The Archaeology of Medicine in the Greco-Roman World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2012 Baker, P., H. Nijdam, and C. van ’t Land (eds.), Medicine and Space: Body, Surroundings and Borders in Antiquity and The Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill.

Sean Coughlin: Recreating the Pleasures of Scent in the Greco-Egyptian and Greco-Roman World

Soothing Gardens ROOTS
Vienna Dioscorides, botanical picture of an iris

There is an immediate delight that comes from fragrance, and in Greco-Egyptian and Greco-Roman antiquity these pleasures infused everyday life, from the natural fragrance of healing gardens to the aesthetic and medical use of incense and aromatic oils. Even ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Theophrastus believed that the pleasure we take from fragrance was something uniquely human: animals can smell, but only humans experience pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness, through scent. In this talk, I discuss some insights into the past and its pleasures that we can gain by recreating these scents. The focus of the talk will be on new approaches to recreating the olfactory heritage of Greco-Egyptian and Greco-Roman perfumery. These approaches form part of a five-year initiative funded by the Czech Science Foundation and the Czech Academy of Sciences: Alchemies of Scent.
Sean Coughlin is Research Fellow in Project A03 of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 980 Episteme in Bewegung funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and at the Institute for Classical Philology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Sean has held visiting and research fellowships in Canada, Germany, and Israel, and has worked as a laboratory technician in neuroscience at McMaster University in Canada and as a cook. His work on ancient Greco-Egyptian perfumery has been exhibited at National Geographic Museum in Washington DC and has been covered by media organizations such as the BBC, the Times, Washington Post, Repubblica and Der Spiegel. He teaches courses on the history of philosophy, medicine and witchcraft, and publishes on Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, science, and medicine, especially the relationship between art and nature. In 2021, he begins as Principal Investigator of Alchemies of Scent, a 5-year interdisciplinary research project focusing on the history of perfumery, botany, chemistry and olfaction, funded by the Junior Star initiative of the Czech Science Foundation and hosted by the Institute of Philosophy (in partnership with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry) at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Grazia Piras:  Bringing Classical wellbeing practices into everyday’ life

Soothing Gardens ROOTS Soothing Gardens ROOTS
Roman and Contemporary cosmetic containers

Classical Greek and Roman culture made important contributions to philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, botany and more.
Over the centuries this wealth of knowledge has been at times feared, and at times overlooked and dismissed; yet, more recently, there has been a renewed interest towards Graeco-Roman antiquity as a source of inspiration for wellbeing and self-care practices.
What is the role of classical scholars in bringing into contemporary lifestyles the lessons learned from ancient Greek and Roman sources (medical, philosophical and otherwise)?
Two case studies from two different fields, public and private (respectively urban policy and the cosmetic industry) will offer the chance to explore and debate gaps, challenges, and opportunities of integrating Classical wellbeing traditions into everyday’ life.
Grazia Piras holds a PhD in sustainable management of cultural and natural resources. She has over twenty years of experience working for various UN agencies and latterly for IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) leading policy driven research and delivering global and regional programmes aimed at preserving natural and cultural resources while fostering social cohesion and economic development. She is passionate about how the attribution of values drives economic development, shapes conservation policies and forges lifestyles. She lives in London and works as an independent consultant.


Organisers of the workshop: Chiara Thumiger and Dana Zentgraf
Date: 12 May 2021, on Zoom

This is a workshop within the collaborative project ‘Gardens and Eudaimonia’ link (Reflective Turn Forum and the Subcluster Knowledge ROOTS)

Download Programme and Abstracts here

Our team in Mongolia: Field research on urban sites during the Corona Pandemic

Figure 1: Copter flight of the ruins of the Manchu military garrison Uliastai, Zavkhan aimag, Mongolia, September 2020. Doctoral student Enkhtuul Chadraabal (Kiel University) and Mongolian cooperation partners from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (Photo: G. Odmagnai).

The Mongolian-German research project “Abandoned cities in the steppe: Roles and perception of Early Modern religious and military centres in Nomadic Mongolia”, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (link) and associated with the Urban ROOTS subcluster (link), focuses on the study of the emergence and reception of permanent settlement structures in Central Mongolia, which emerged during the reign of the Manchurian Qing dynasty between the 17th and early 20th centuries AD.
Although the Mongolian-German excavation and survey campaign had to be cancelled in summer 2021 due to the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, part of the planned fieldwork could still take place in autumn 2020, when Enkhtuul Chadraabal, PhD candidate in the project, was able to enter Mongolia as a Mongolian citizen. Thus, together with research assistants E. Urtnasan and G. Odmagnai of the Mongolian partner institute, Enkhtuul succeeded in carrying out photogrammetric documentation of the Manchu military city of Uliastai in the Zavkhan Province by copter flights and by creating a 3D digital elevation model of this outstanding modern urban centre (Fig. 1). The city of Uliastai was founded by the Manchurians as a military garrison in 1733 during the Qing reign. It quickly developed into one of Mongolia’s most important political centres and a significant place of economic and cultural life. The city also forms the starting point of the development of today’s modern city (Fig. 2).
In addition, two other Manchu-period sites in the vicinity of Uliastai were flown over and documented. The high-resolution 3D models and the aerial photographs now provide new and detailed information about the structure and location of the Manchu military garrison of Uliastai. These rich datasets will be evaluated and analysed over the next months and they will serve to identify the building structures in more detail when planning future excavations on the site (Fig. 3).

Report: Enkhtuul Chadraabal, PhD student, Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University.
Collaborators: E. Urtnasan, G. Odmagnai, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Department of History and Ethnology, Ulaanbaatar; M. Oczipka, University of Applied Sciences, Dresden.MongoliaFigure 2: New aerial photo of the Manchu military garrison of Uliastai, September 2020 (Photo: Ch. Enkhtuul).

Figure 3: 3D elevation model of the Manchu military garrison Uliastai, based on imagery documented during the field work (Graphics and model: M. Oczipka / HTW Dresden).

Burial mounds reloaded: Geophysics and Social Archaeology

TumulusFigure 1: GPS measurements (Photo: W. Rabbel)

The oldest burial mounds in Central Europe are located in the Mittelelbe-Saale area, Germany. Here, Copper Age societies erected corresponding symbols of power for a socially outstanding group around 3700 BCE. Some of these burial mounds were already excavated at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. One of the oldest burial mounds in Central Europe is the Schneiderberg of Baalberge (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany). The place “Baalberge” gave its name to the first metal-producing culture in Central Europe. The mound is now being reinvestigated in the frame of ROOTS by researchers of the subcluster ‘ROOTS of Inequalities’ (link) and the Technical Platform (link) in cooperation with the State Office for Archaeology of Saxony-Anhalt.

The Schneiderberg mound still measures 6m high and 50m in diameter. Investigations of the mound started in September 2020 with non-invasive geophysical deep soundings, including ground radar, electric resistivity tomography and seismic wave sounding. In combination with the information from the old excavations, the measurements suggest that the mound may consist of different construction phases. These will be investigated further in the future. The social archaeological studies will focus on whether the size of the burial mounds is the product of a centuries-long hill biography or whether such an imposing monument was already erected for one person by a group around 3700 BC.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller or Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Rabbel


Grabhügel reloaded: Geophysik und Sozialarchäologie

Die ältesten Grabhügel Mitteleuropas befinden sich im Mittelelbe-Saale-Gebiet. Hier errichteten kupferzeitliche Gesellschaften für eine sozial herausragende Gruppe um 3700 v. Chr. entsprechende Symbole der Macht. Bereits am Ende des 19. und zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts wurden einige der Grabhügel angegraben.
Einer der ältesten Grabhügel in Mitteleuropa ist der Schneiderberg in Baalberge (Sachsen-Anhalt, Deutschland). Der Ort „Baalberge“ wurde für die erste metallproduzierende Kultur Mitteleuropas namengebend. Hier wird der Grabhügel zurzeit im Rahmen von ROOTS durch Mitglieder des Subcluster ‚Social Inequality‘ (Link) und der technischen Plattform (Link) in Kooperation mit dem Archäologischen Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt neu untersucht.

Der Schneiderberg ist heute noch 6 m hoch und hat einen Durchmesser von 50 m. Die Untersuchungen begannen im September 2020 mit zerstörungsfreien geophysikalischen Tiefensondierungen, unter anderem mit Bodenradar, elektrischer Widerstandstomographie und Durchschallung mit seismischen Wellen. In Verbindung mit den Informationen aus den Altgrabungen deuten die Messergebnisse daraufhin, dass der Grabhügel aus mehreren Konstruktionsphasen bestehen könnte, die weiter untersucht werden sollen. Im Rahmen der sozialarchäologischen Studien geht es darum, ob die Größe der Grabhügel Produkt einer jahrhundertelangen Hügelbiographie ist oder ob bereits um 3700 v. Chr. ein solches imposantes Monument für eine Person von einer Gruppe errichtet wurde.

Kontakt: Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller oder Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Rabbel

TumulusTumulusFigure 2 & 3: Seismic measurements (Photo: W. Rabbel)


Figure 4: First results of geoelectric measurements (Sep. 2020) combined with the excavation section of Paul Höfer (1901) (E. Erkul)

TumulusFigure 5: Elektrik measurements (Photo: E. Erkul


Figure 6: Magnetic measurements (Photo: E. Erkul)TumulusFigure 7: Georadar measurements (Photo: E. Erkul)


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions