CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation


October 9, 2019

The CRC 1266 at the German Congress for Geography at Kiel

The CRC 1266 at the German Congress for Geography at Kiel

This year's German Congress for Geography (DKG) took place from 25 to 30 September in Kiel. 2000 participants took part in 250 sessions under the general congress motto "Changes and new beginnings – Geography of the future“. Members of the CRC 1266 were also present, for example the project A2 was represented with different focal points.. The main focus was on the possibilities of linking archaeological and geographical concepts and paradigms. The is the prerequisite to integrate archaeological and geographical data and the basis of an interdisciplinary oriented transformation research.
A session entitled "The concept of landscape in geography: from the core of the subject to the elementary object of historically oriented research" was organized by members of subproject A2 in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Schenk of the University of Bonn. In the session, the different approaches and difficulties of the humanities and natural sciences in the analysis of change and the dynamics of landscapes were discussed. Ricarda Braun, research associate in the A2 project, presented various modeling tools developed in the CRC 1266. These can be used to analyse the perception of past societies and their connection to the landscape. Overall, the session was a success, as the necessity of a multi-facetted approach to the subject of landscape was recognized. This forms the basis for transformation research in the context of the longue durée.
Wolfgang Hamer, also from subproject A2, presented a paper on "Spatial and temporal prediction using machine learning methods".
In addition, a poster was presented that critically reflects on the different ways how the dynamics of human-environment relations are investigated. On the basis of the current discourse on the "Anthropocene" it was shown that an integrative and critically-reflected approach to the relationship between humans and nature is necessary in order to take into account the complexity of the object. Interdisciplinary research on transformations is significantly improved if the structural link between humans and nature is taken into account and accordingly stronger included into the research practice.

An information stand also provided information about the research and activities of the CRC 1266. Since this research has broad links with historical, physical and climatic geography in particular, the stand attracted a lot of interest and offered an opportunity for exchange on current research and research questions.

Publication of the poster: 
Knitter, D., Augustin, K., Biniyaz, E., Hamer, W., Kuhwald, M., Schwanebeck, M., Duttmann, R. 2019. Geography and the Anthropocene: Critical approaches needed. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment 43 (3), 451-461. DOI

Figure: The information stand of the CRC 1266 at the German Congress of Geography (Photo: W. Dörfler)

October 9, 2019

The CRC 1266 at the Night of Science 2019

The CRC 1266 at the Night of Science 2019

“Archaeology beyond Indiana Jones and Lara Croft” was the headline of the actions in which colleagues from the CRC 1266 (projects D3, F1, F2 and Z1) took part as well in the “Night of Science” 2019 to present the methods and results of the CRC 1266 to a interested public. This year’s event took place in the Kiel region with Preetz as the main place for the archaeological sciences. At two well-attended workshops, visitors were able to make their own pottery of Neolithic ceramic vessels or to practice drawing prehistoric potsherds at the neighbouring table. The interactive offers for pollen analysis, crop plant identification and a 3D ceramic puzzle were also very popular. Talks and a poster exhibition can be combined under the main topic "Formation of the environment - formation of social interaction": The topics ranged from environmental influences and prehistoric gender roles to the history of crop plants in archaeological periods. The positive feedback of the visitors motivates to participate again in the “Night of Science” in 2020.

Figure: At the Night of Science 2019, the offer to carry out a pollen analysis was met with great interest. (Photo: J.K. Koch)

September 19, 2019

The CRC 1266 at this year's EAA in Bern

EAA Bern

The CRC was present again at this year's EAA from 04th to 07th September in Bern. Numerous researchers of the CRC 1266 presented current research results in a total of seventeen sessions.

In particular, different sessions hosted by CRC members led to fundamental discourses on the reconstruction of social units from archaeological features of different periods and their role in transformation processes. In the entrance area of the University of Bern, the joint stand of the CRC 1266 and the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS presented the thematic concepts, publications and public outreach activities of the two closely cooperating, but differing Kiel research alliances. Like last year in Barcelona, it was again a meeting point for many interesting discussions between the participants. The EAA 2021, which will be held in Kiel from 08th to 11th September 2021, was promoted as well.

Figure: The CRC 1266 stand at the EAA in Bern 2019. (Photo: A. Hoffmann)

July 1, 2019

CRC 1266 Archaeobotanists present their exciting results at the 18th international conference of the IWGP 2019 in Lecce

IWGP 2019

From 3rd-8th of June, the 18th Conference of the International Workgroup on Palaeoethnobotany (IWGP) took place in Lecce, Italy. The conference, which takes place every three years, brings together archaeobotanists and specialists from related disciplines to discuss the latest research as well as both fundamental and new issues while strengthening international networks. The CRC 1266 was represented by a strong group of archaeobotanists from the subprojects F3 and D1. Together with PI Wiebke Kirleis, Sofia Filatova and Dragana Filipovic (both F3), and in cooperation with colleagues from Hungary and across Europe, reports on innovations in the crop spectrum of cultivated plants in the Bronze Age were given.  These innovations are related to changing supra-regional networks and can thus be an expression of transformation processes. Marta Dal Corso and Wiebke Kirleis (D1), together with colleagues from Ukraine and Lithuania, were able to present their research on the significance of Ukraine in the history of the spread of millet from China to Central Europe, to an international audience of experts. In addition to the numerous lectures and posters, the participants had the opportunity to intensively examine recent developments in archaeobotanical research in workshops on developing methods, e.g. morphometry and material studies. Wiebke Kirleis (co-speaker CRC 1266/PI F3/F5/D1) organized the workshop "National and International Archaeobotanical Networks" together with Anna Maria Mercuri, Milan, and other colleagues. Here she presented the newly established archaeobotanical literature database ArchbotLit. She was also able to expand synergies with the ERC-funded Plant Cult Project, which addresses the transformation of culinary practices. This is a topic that TP F3 in CRC 1266 would like to further expand on, as nutrition and food preparation have a significant influence not only on plant economics, but also on social change. 

June 25, 2019

2nd Geosophy Workshop at Kiel

Geosophy Workshop 2019

The Geosophy Workshop, organised by the CRC 1266, enters its second round. From June 26 to 27, the Geosophy 2.0 workshop will bring together archaeologists, philosophers, geographers and many more to gain deeper insights into eco-social relationships by gathering ideas on how to reconstruct the geography of past times. The insights gained in this way will provide important information on whether or how such geographies change. Identifying these changes is an important element in understanding and explaining transformations in societies and their relationships to the environment.


June 24, 2019

ArchbotLit – The New Search Engine for Literature on Archaeological Remains of Cultivated Plants


Accompanying the activities of the SFB 1266 subproject F3 on plant economics, an important tool has recently been established at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology of Kiel University: With the literature database ArchbotLiton the wiki portal of CAU Kiel, a tool is now provided for specialists, students and interested members of the public in order to inform them about the history of cultivated plants. The database makes archaeobotanical literature on ancient crops accessible, which is otherwise scattered over a large number of international journals and excavation reports, but also in grey literature. The new wiki platform ArchbotLitis a sustainable continuation of the literature-based online database on archaeological remains of cultivated plants by Helmut Koll, Rainer Pasternak (both from Kiel) and Aleksandar Medović (Novi Sad), which includes literature from the years 1981-2004. ArchbotLitenables access to previous entries via online access at Kiel University and is currently successively expanded with new entries from international experts. This makes it an important hub in which archaeobotanical literature from the worldwide community is bundled and kept up to date. The database makes it possible, for example, to find the earliest records of spelt for the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

Link ArchbotLit

May 16, 2019

Lost and found in transformations – Retreat of the CRC 1266

Retreat 2019

On May 10 and 11, the PIs and PostDocs of the CRC 1266 withdrew to the Altes Stahlwerk in Neumünster for the first retreat of this year. At the beginning of the transformation talks, the research progress on transformation processes achieved by the individual subprojects was presented. Following this, the projects in areas A, B-E, F as well as G and Z withdrew into working groups and discussed their excellent progress and perspectives for future work. In addition, they developed further concepts for comparative analyses of the different transformation processes. At the end of the first intensive day, the discussions were continued in the evening in a relaxed atmosphere and individual aspects were further deepened.

On the second day, the presentation of the results from the working groups served as a superordinate comparative analysis of the locally, regionally and globally identified transformation processes. Another result of the lively exchange was the presentation of the further developed narratives of all subprojects. From the Palaeolithic to classical Greek periods, from environmental changes to infectious diseases, all subprojects addressed the respective transformation processes in a vivid way. On the basis of these initial results, it is indicated, for example, that climate change appears to play a much smaller role in social change than expected. These interpretative representations of the transformations of prehistoric and archaic societies were particularly valuable in developing further perspectives that were sharpened together. Based on these results, spatial and temporal interdependencies of the subprojects were discussed and concretised.

Photo: The PIs and PostDocs of the CRC 1266 during the plenary talks

May 15, 2019

Workshop “Stone Age border experiences”


From May 20 to 22, a workshop on "Stone Age Border Experiences - Neolithic and Mesolithic parallel societies in the Northern European Lowlands" will take place at the State Museum "Das WeltenMuseum" in Hanover. Starting from new research on the well-known site "Hüde I" at the lake Dümmer, the dynamics of the neolithization of the North European Plain are discussed, which took place under the coexistence of early arable farmers and "old-established" hunters and gatherers. Among the lecturers are also some members of the CRC 1266 whose research makes essential contributions to a better understanding of this substantial transformation process and who exchange ideas with their national and international colleagues.

In addition, on May 21 at 6.30 p.m. the speaker of the CRC 1266, Johannes Müller, will give a public evening lecture on the topic "Neolithization of Northern Central Europe".

There is no fee for the participation in the congress. However, please register.

Further information can be found on the homepage of the State Museum “Das WeltenMuseum” Hanover under the category “News”.

Photo: Landesmuseum Hannover

March 29, 2019

The Scientific Advisory Board visits the CRC 1266

Advisory Board

During the Open International Workshop "Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI" the members of the scientific advisory board were guests at the CRC 1266 "Scales of Transformation". The committee, composed of high-ranking international and interdisciplinary scientists, supports the CRC 1266 in its internal, scientific quality control by contributing an external perspective. The members of the advisory board got a detailed overview of the status of the work in the CRC 1266 and gained deep insights into its activities. They were impressed by the scientific progress of the CRC 1266 and proposed adjustments in a consultative meeting. These indications from an external perspective are of great value for the CRC 1266.

Photo: The members of the scientific advisory board with the members of the executive board of the CRC 1266 after the consultative meeting.

March 28, 2019

Activities of the CRC 1266 at the International Open Workshop “Socio-Environmental Dynamics Over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI”

SFB1266 Session 19

At this year's sixth International Open Workshop "Socio-Environmental Dynamics Over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI", the members of the CRC 1266 took the opportunity to exchange their current results on complex transformation scenarios and phenomena with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines from all over the world. In the main program of the workshop, 27 lectures by CRC members presented research of the individual subprojects. They explored the multifaceted aspects of transformations of prehistoric and archaic societies and demonstrated the complex interaction of cultural, social, and ecological processes that characterized and accompanied past transformations. In addition, 14 sessions were organised by CRC members, 11 of which explicitly or implicitly brought transformations to the centre of the exchange. 

The centerpiece of the workshop for the CRC-members was the highly attended session 19 "Scales of Transformations in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies", which was dedicated directly to the research of the CRC's subprojects. In addition to the other conference contributions, 15 lectures and 18 posters were presented by the subprojects about their research. The contributions methodically ranged from aDNA analyses and pedological investigations to settlement reconstructions and landscape receptions as well as chronologically from the Northern European Late Palaeolithic to Mediterranean Hellenism. 

Daniel Groß, for example, presented research results of the subproject B2, which prove that during the early Mesolithic in northern Germany (ca. 9600-7200 BCE) there was a change of food procurement strategies from aquatic to terrestrial prey. The results suggest that this economic-technological shift was accompanied by new communication network strategies, thus indicating a far reaching transformation process.

Session 19 audience

Another example are the results of subproject D1 presented by Robert Hofmann: The development of two structurally different types of mega-structures showed that a socio-political transformation took place in the Chalcolithic Tripolye megasites of the North Pontic forest steppe between 4000 and 3700 BCE, which led to a stronger centralization of decision-making processes. Only a short time later (around 3600 BCE) the Tripolye communities were disintegrated, probably due to a lack of acceptance of this increasing centralization.

On the one hand, the broad spectrum of all lectures covered the entire range of the CRC's research activities; on the other hand, it has become clear that it is precisely the intensive interdisciplinary cooperation within the CRC and its international networking that generates scientific synergy effects that lead to a significantly better understanding of the overall phenomenon of transformations.

High-ranking national and international scientists from various disciplines, who form the external scientific advisory board of the CRC 1266, were also present during the workshop and in particular during Session 19. They examined the scientific progress and the interdisciplinary cooperation of the CRC and provided helpful and target-oriented information from their external perspective in order to fine-tune the high scientific quality of the CRC 1266.

News of the Kiel University regarding the workshop
Workshop programme including all titles and abstracts 

Top photo: Session 19 during intensive scientific exchange. Nils Müller-Scheeßel (standing, left, subproject C2) in the discussion of his dating method for houses of the Linear Pottery culture. Jutta Kneisel (standing, right, subproject D3) chairs the discussion.

Bottom photo: Visitors of session 19

March 26, 2019

Experimental crop cultivation by CRC 1266 members staged in a new documentary

ARTE documentation

In the documentary "Violence and Cannibalism - Crime scenes in the Neolithic" by the Caligari Film- und Fernsehproduktions GmbH  Munich, the hard everyday life of our ancestors from the Neolithic period is impressively brought to life with elaborate re-enactment scenes. A special and challenging part of the everyday life of the early farmers was the cultivation of crops. Thus the experimental cereal and linseed cultivation in the AÖZA, conducted by archaeobotanists of the CRC 1266 (Marta Dal Corso, Dragana Filipovic, Sofia Filatova and Wiebke Kirleis), was impressively staged to illustrate the intimate relationship of the early farmers with their crops.

March 25, 2019

The international MN V-Workshop 2019 resulted in a new understanding of the Store-Valby phenomenon

Participants of the MN V-Workshop 2019

Fundamental social changes can be observed in the North German Plain and in southern Scandinavia at the beginning of the third millennium BC. New phenomena such as the Store-Valby style, the globular amphorae and single grave communities emerge in this area at the end of the funnel beaker societies around 3000 BC. The associated social and economic transformations were in the focus of the International MN-V workshop which took place from the 27th to the 28th of February 2019 at Kiel University. The workshop was organized by the CRC Mercator Fellow Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, University of Århus, and by Jan Piet Brozio and Johannes Müller from the project C1 Late Mesolithic and Neolithic Transformations on the Northern and Central European Plain. An important result of the workshop is that the Store-Valby phenomenon is no longer to be associated with the last phase of the funnel beaker group, but represents a specific style of expression of socio-cultural transformations at the beginning of the third millennium BC.

Photo: Carsten Reckweg

March 6, 2019

Honorary Medal of the Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań awarded to CRC speaker Johannes Müller

Muelle Czebreszuk Poznan

The Adam Miekiewic University Honorary Medal Poznań (UAM) is awarded for outstanding achievements in international scientific cooperation. For 20 years the research career of Professor Johannes Müller, speaker of the Cluster of Excellence "ROOTS - Connectivity of Society, Environment and Culture in Past Worlds" and the SFB 1266 "Transformation Dimensions" at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), has been closely linked with the Polish University. On 22 February, the medal was presented to him in Poznań.

The UAM Vice-Rector Professor Beata Mikolajczak described the cooperation in the field of archaeology as a foundation of the partnership between CAU and UAM. The merits of Professor Johannes Müller are recognized by the award of the UAM Medal of Honor. In this 20-year collaboration between the universities, the scientific but also personal solidarity would be expressed, said Professor Janusz Czebreszuk in his laudation.

The award honoured the achievements of archaeological and palaeoecological field research carried out since 1999 by Polish-German teams from UAM and CAU. Excavations of Bronze Age sites in Wielkopolska were of central interest, especially the fortified settlement of Bruszczewo and the rich burial mound of Łęki Małe (2200-1600 BC). Together, the sites are interpreted as an Early Bronze Age power centre in this region. Over several years, international excavation teams of up to 50 participants have excavated these nowadays famous archaeological sites. The numerous scientific publications resulting from this Polish-German cooperation initiated the publication of the series "Studies on Archaeology in Eastern Central Europe", edited by Professor Janusz Czebreszuk from Poznań, Professor Sławomir Kadrow from Krakow and Professor Johannes Müller.

Read more: Kiel University Press Release

Photo: Long-standing colleagues: Professor Janusz Czebreszuk and Professor Johannes Müller look back on over 20 years of Polish-German research cooperation (B. Fritsch).

February 21, 2019

EPHA - European Prehistoric and Historic Atlas


The EPHA Project, launched at the ZBSA by B members Sonja Grimm and Daniel Groß, provides base maps licensed under Creative Commons showing land-water distributions for different prehistoric timeframes. The maps are compiled from literature and research data and and can easily be integrated into Geo Information Systems as they are vectorised and georeferenced.

The projekt is still going on and help is requested especially for Neolithic times. If you are interested please get in touch with Sonja Grimm or Daniel Groß.

EPHA – European Prehistoric and Historic Atlas

February 18, 2019

GSHDL/CRC1266 International Workshop: Scientific programme & Poster Award

International Workshop

The detailed scientific programme for the International Open Workshop: ‘Socio-Environmental Dynamics Over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes’ jointly by the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ and the CRC 1266 is now online!

Also, the GSHDL and CRC 1266 award three prizes for the workshop‘s best posters!

For more information, take a look at the official website:

Call Poster Award 2019

February 11, 2019

MN V-Workhop: The Store-Valby Phenomenon 

MN-V Workshop 2019

From 27-28 February, CRC projects C1 and F5 will organise a workhop on the Middle Neolithic V. 

In northern Germany and southern Scandinavia, the beginning of the 3rd millennium B.C. is characterised by sociocultural changes within the Neolithic groups. Significant changes took place in forms of social organisation and in the ritual spheres of burials and their function as means of representation. But also changes in the field of economy and material culture are visible.

In this phase a cultural phenomenon appears in the western Baltic Sea region, which according to a Danish site is called Store-Valby and is systematically assigned to the last phase of the Northern Funnel Beaker groups. Characteristic for these groups is a material culture that on the one hand refers to older developments but in other repects clearly distinguishes itself from these.

In the workshop, experts from Southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany, will discuss questions such as possible triggers for the phenomenon, the relationship to the northern group of Funnel Beakers, and other contemporary cultural phenomena such as Single Grave culture or Pitted Ware culture groups, as well as questions on economy, subsistence, burial practices, and material culture. It will be organised by CRC Mercator fellow Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, University Aarhus University, Jan Piet Brozio, and Johannes Müller.


MN V Workshop
27-28 February 2019
Leibnizstraße 1, room 207

January 29, 2019

Why were megalithic tombs erected? Lecture by Jan Piet Brozio from subproject C1 at the Foundation Stiftung Oldenburger Wall e.V. in Oldenburg i.H. 

Vortrag Brozio

The foundation Stiftung Oldenburger Wall e.V consisting of more than 600 members invited Jan Piet Brozio from subproject C1 "Late Mesolithic and Neolithic Transformations in the North Central European Plain" to give a lecture in Oldenburg on 24.01.2019.
The lecture "Why were megalithic tombs erected? The development of monumental funeral architecture in the Neolithic Age of Northern Germany" presented new research results to a large audience, among them the mayor of Oldenburg i.H. Martin Voigt and the president of the district Ostholstein Harald Werner. 
In his talk, Jan Piet Brozio introduced different sites in the Ostholstein region which is an important research area within the project. From 2016 to 2018 two excavation campaigns were carried out at sites with waterlogged deposits (read more about the excavation in 2016 here).The excavations provide new insights into the transformation phase from the 4th to the 3rd millennium B.C. and the relationship between different Neolithic cultural phenomena.

Photo: Jan Piet Brozio with the director of the Oldenburg Wallmuseum, Stephan Meinhardt, and Irmtrud Schubert (Torsten Ewers, Stiftung Oldenburger Wall e.V.).

January 28, 2019

Döner in the Stone Age! Lecture by Wiebke Kirleis on 23 January at the Kids‘ University

Kids UniversityToday, our food comes from all over the world. But was it always like this? What did the Stone Age people eat and where do our crop plants and our domestic animals come from? At the Kids‘ University, CRC co-speaker and archeobotanist Prof. Wiebke Kirleis explained how 6000 year old cereal grains and wild apples are beeing discoverd at excavations in Schleswig-Holstein and how they are connected to findings in the Near East, Iraq, and southeast Turkey. 

At the Kids‘ University eight to twelve year old students have the opportunity to get a first whiff of academia. In one-hour lectures, Kiel University scientists offer an insight to every day research of various disciplines. The lecture by Wiebke Kirleis was the last one for this semester. The series will be continued in spring.

Watch the video of the lecture (in German only)

Go to the homepage of the Kids‘ University

Photos: Daniela Menge and Uli Kunz, Copyright: Exzellenzcluster »Future Ocean«

January 16, 2019

Launch of CRC Book Series: “STPAS”

STPASThe new CRC book Series "Scales of Transformation in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies"(STPAS)is now online at the homepage of the publishing house Sidestone Press. It is dedicated to the fundamental research questions of the CRC1266 dealing with transformations on different temporal, spatial and social scales, in the period between 15,000 before till the beginning of the common era.Cover Embracing Bell Beakers All volumes will be provided online with open access but can also be purchased as printed versions. 

By now, pre-order is open for the first two volumes, “Embracing Bell Beaker“ by Jos Kleijne and „Das Jungneolithikum in Schleswig-Holstein“ by Sebastian Schultrich. 

Go to Sidestone Press

January 7, 2019

'Past Landscapes': New edited volume by the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’

Past LandscapesThe edited volume ‘Past Landscapes. The Dynamics of Interaction between Society, Landscape, and Culture’ presents theoretical and practical attempts of scholars and scientists, who were and are active within the Kiel Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’ (GSHDL) at Kiel University. It comprises 18 papers dealing with central issues of interdisciplinary research on past landscapes, inhabiting societies and the development of socio-environmental interaction, with special focus on the definition and application of the term ‘landscape’:

Landscapes are understood as products of human-environmental interaction. At the same time, they are arenas, in which societal and cultural activities as well as receptions of environments and human developments take place. Thus, environmental processes are interwoven into human constraints and advances.
This book presents theories, concepts, approaches and case studies dealing with human development in landscapes. On the one hand, it becomes evident that only an interdisciplinary approach can cover the manifold aspects of the topic. On the other hand, this also implies that the very different approaches cannot be reduced to a simplistic uniform definition of landscape. This shortcoming proves nevertheless to be an important strength. The umbrella term ‘landscape’ proves to be highly stimulating for a large variety of different approaches.

The GSDHL makes the major pioneering institution of this interdisciplinary research focus at Kiel University, from which the CRC 1266, the Johanna Mestorf Academy and the excellence cluster ‘ROOTS - connectivity of society, environment and culture in past worlds’ emerged. Hence, several members of the CRC 1266 and ROOTS contributed to different papers of this volume.

The publication is freely accessible online via the publishing house Sidestone Press: Link 

Haug, A.Käppel, L.Müller, J. (eds.) 2018Past Landscapes – The Dynamics of Interaction between Society, Landscape, and Culture. Leiden: Sidestone Press.


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