CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

Research issues of the CRC 1266

Map Interlinkage
The spatial concept and work areas of the CRC showing the interlinkage between case studies (unfilled ellipses) and component studies (transparent fills).

The CRC aims at a comprehensive understanding of socio-environmental transformations in Europe between 15.000 and 1 BCE.

The understanding of human practices in a social and environmental context is one of the most fundamental issues of archaeological research.

The dynamics of the human-environmental relationship have also become a central focus in current debates through the perilous consequences of human-induced alteration, pollution, and destruction of natural landscapes; a transformation of both, the environment and human societies of hitherto unknown dimension.

Archaeology, with its long-term temporal perspective on human societies and landscapes is in a unique position to trace and link comparable phenomena in the past, to study human involvement with the natural environment, human impact on nature and the consequences of the various dimensions of environmental change on human societies. Archaeology has the means to contrast major transformations with minor changes, rapid transitions with continuous modifications, transient with enduring changes, periods of more stable relations with the occurrence of crises, and restoration with collapse.

The CRC 1266 approach pursues the four general goals:

  • The development of a specific archaeological anatomy of transformation, through a broad and multi-faceted handling of the dynamics of socio-environmental interrelations from a diachronic perspective.
  • The analyses of individual cases of transformation as historical incidences with their particular developments, diagnostics, and triggers; including foragers, horticulturists and agriculturalists, early metallurgists, as well as pre-state and state societies.
  • A systematic identification of temporal, spatial and social scales of transformation by the systematic comparison of these individual cases studies, and
  • An exploration of the general characteristics of transformation for writing the environmental and social history of change in the period 15,000–1 BCE.

As a result, the CRC detects the impact of certain triggers; human adaptation and coping strategies, the role of certain environmental constraints, and societal patterns, like the shape of socio-economic and cultural systems, or indeed, the general structure, shape, and impact of socio-environmental transformation processes.