Federal state funding for "Data Campus"

In the presence of Andreas Hennig (from left), KI-Transfer-Hub Schleswig-Holstein, Ina Eirich and Stephan Schneider from Kiel University of Applied Sciences received the funding notification from Dirk Schrödter, Head of the State Chancellery. CAU Vice President Eckhard Quandt and the project participants Dirk Nowotka and Olaf Landsiedel also received a funding notification from the hands of the State Secretary.(photo: Jürgen Hacks,Kiel University)


In order to use artificial intelligence in an interdisciplinary way and to promote digitalisation, the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein has approved two million Euros to Kiel University for the research project "KI@CAU Datencampus Kiel". The successful proposal had been submitted by four computer scienstits, one of them being Matthias Renz, member of both ROOTS and CRC 1266.   
The project aims at boosting the use of artificial intelligence across disciplines, promoting the digitalisation of science in Schleswig-Holstein, and using the latest discoveries from computer science to address current social and economic questions in a targeted manner. 
In order to launch interdisciplinary cooperation in the Data Campus, the scientists will form tandem initiatives with scientists from other disciplines. The tandem related to ROOTS and CRC 1266 will be made up by Professor Matthias Renz and Dr. Tim Kerig working on the topic Big Exchange in the field of Computational Archaeology.  

alle4Collage of the four CAU project leaders (from left): Dirk Nowotka, Matthias Renz, Agnes Koschmider and Olaf Landsiedel.(photo: Jürgen Hacks & Anna Pries, Kiel University) 

Read the press release for further information: 
In Englisch here
In German here

Hands-on archaeology


In May and June this year, citizens of the town of Schenefeld in Schleswig-Holstein have the opportunity to carry out themselves small excavations in their town and even on their own estate. The event is part of a citizen science project initiated by the communication platform of the cluster. 
Under the supervision of archaeologists everyone interested can participate in digging small pits of one square metre in residential areas, which will lead to new archaeological finds. Since the duration of the excavations is limited to two days, participants will experience the entire process from the beginning to the end.  
This will be the first citizen science project of this kind in Germany. 

Detailed information (in German) is available on the leaflet. (Downloadlink)

Shelby White-Leon Levy grant awarded to Andrea Ricci

Shelby White-Leon Levy grant A Ricci
Fig. 1 – Picture of Zeytinli Bahçe from the West

Congratulations to Andrea Ricci, scientific coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, who was awarded, together with Marcella Frangipane, a grant by the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University for the project “Zeytinli Bahçe: the 1999-2007 Excavations. The long history of a site at the crossroads of Mesopotamia and Anatolia”.

The prestigious Shelby White-Leon Levy program supports the publication of the results of completed archaeological projects that have only been partially published or not published at all.

The grant will lead to the final publication on the results of the field activities carried out on the multi-layered mound of Zeytinli Bahçe (Şanlıurfa, Turkey) between the late 1990s and the early 2000s. At the site, seven seasons of excavations and research conducted under the scientific direction of Marcella Frangipane, director at that time of the Missione Archeologica Italiana nell’Anatolia Orientale (MAIAO) of Sapienza University of Rome, documented substantial evidence of a long and complex history punctuated by significant phenomena and processes of socio-cultural changes over several millennia from the Late Chalcolithic (early 4th Mill. BCE) to the Medieval period (13th century AD).

“The project aims to present the overall research results of the archaeological investigations at Zeytinli Bahçe in a coherent picture, highlighting both the fractures and changing trajectories in the local and regional developments, as well as the impressive continuity manifested in some periods,” remarks Andrea Ricci, the PI of the project. With contributions by various specialists, this study will encompass the analysis of the stratigraphy, the architectural remains, associated remains, a systematic and critical study of the absolute and relative chronology, as well as a comparative analysis of the archaeological evidence at the site in the context of regional developments.

“We expect that the presentation of the overall life of the site will provide an original perspective, contributing to the thorough reconstruction of a long and important historical sequence in a region of intensive cultural contact. This will shed light on crucial long-term socio-cultural developments along the Middle Euphrates Region, which was the scene of key events in the history of Southwestern Asia,” adds Marcella Frangipane (Fondazione Roma Sapienza and Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei), co-PI of the project and responsible for the scientific investigations at the site.

The project is planned to run for three years and will officially start in spring 2023, in conjunction with Marcella Frangipane’s position in Kiel as a ROOTS JMA-Chair holder.

Shelby White-Leon Levy grant A Ricci
Fig. 2 – Middle Bronze Age fortification tower

Shelby White-Leon Levy grant A Ricci
Fig. 3 – Zeytinli Bahçe. Examples of artefact assemblages of the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (EBA Ib)

Climate change and archaeology

During the last months, people from ROOTS engaged in many activities related to the current climate crisis. In order to face this crisis, archaeology can provide essential perspectives. The main conclusions of the Kiel SACC summit were disseminated through various media channels.

By taking a long-term perspective, archaeology can detect how climate change affected different societies and how they adjusted. We observe a link between sustainable economies and social factors. Societies with low social stratification tend to be more able to mitigate the effects of climate stress than more socially stratified societies. Furthermore, we observe that there were never abrupt, but always longer-term reactions, even to drastic climate events. A complex interplay of socio-ecological factors was always discernible. Typical reactions to climate change were, for example, the diversification of food use or migration.

Media coverage at the beginning of 2022

This message has recently been conveyed through various media. For example, Johannes Müller was interviewed in January 2022 by the German TV programme “alle wetter!” (Link available until January 2023). Moreover, Mara Weinelt, Wiebke Kirleis, Jutta Kneisel and Johannes Müller, all members of the Excellence Cluster ‘ROOTS’, were interviewed by a German science journal (Bild der Wissenschaft) on this topic. The ROOTS scientists provided distinct examples of different societies’ reactions to and consequences of climate change, such as the collapse of long-lasting structures, migration, innovation, or the diversification of subsistence strategies.

Kiel SACC: Summit Statement on the Social Archaeology of Climate Change

The Kiel SACC summit was held in connection with the EAA in August 2021 (link). During the summit, the experts discussed and evaluated the relationship between social, ecological and climatic change from an interdisciplinary perspective. The contribution of archaeology to the investigation of today’s climate crisis was identified by decoding past abilities to adapt. At the end of the summit, the participants formulated a joint declaration. They concluded that people have never been helpless in the face of climate changes, but have always developed creative solutions.

This declaration, financed by ROOTS and CRC 1266 (link), has now been published in February 2022 in a booklet in six languages. Thus, the important message of the SACC can be understood in English-speaking, Mandarin-speaking, French-speaking, Russian-speaking, German-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries and regions. A list of all 40 supporters of the declaration with their names, positions and institutions is also included in the booklet.


Find more information on SACC here
Download booklet here

Eva Stukenbrock appointed member of the French Academy of Sciences

Eva Strukenbrock

In recognition of her outstanding research on the relationships between plants and microorganisms, the evolutionary genomics underlying them and future applications in sustainable plant protection the French Academy of Sciences has appointed ROOTS member Eva Stukenbrock as a new member. This makes her the second scientist from Kiel University to receive this honour since the appointment of Professor Eugen Seibold in the 1980s.

See the press release for further information.

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 www.latvian-hillforts.lv)


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions