CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

Archive Publications

December 20, 2019

An enclosure, settlement systems and climatic changes

Geomagnetic plan of the site of Monte da Contenda

New publications on the F1-research in West Iberia are available. By synchronizing cultural and climatic developments and above all by assessing demographic developments and their spatial development, a much-discussed connection between the two phenomena can be made plausible for the Western Iberian Peninsula. For this purpose, the results of aoristics, 14 C sum calibration and the evaluation of the concentration of long-chain n-alkane homologues of terrestrial origin as precipitation predictor are combined, their correlation is presented and possible responses are interpreted from the mapping of the settlement system development.

In a second article the geomegantic investigations at Monte da Contenda, Arronchs, Portugal are presented. Whereas in the first campaign, in 2013, revealed a very complex ditch system but was unable to expose the site’s full layout, the 2018 campaign was able to reveal the site’s ditch systems in their entirety. Many of the assumptions established in the first campaign concerning the layout of the site were confirmed during this second campaign, namely that the ditch system is delimited to the south by the Ribeira das Argamassas and that the site contains two distinct ditch systems, comprising a total of 17 to 19 ditches, establishing Monte da Contenda as the site with the highest number of ditches currently known in Portugal.

Hinz, M., Schirrmacher, J.Kneisel, J.Rinne, C.Weinelt, M. 2019. The Chalcolithic–Bronze Age transition in southern Iberia under the influence of the 4.2 ka BP event? A correlation of climatological and demographic proxies. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology  21, 1-26. DOI

Ribeiro, A.Rinne, C., Valera, A. 2019. Geomagnetic investigationsat Monte da Contenda, Arronches,Portugal – Results from the 2018 campaign. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 21, 61-74. DOI

Figure: Geomagnetic plan of the site of Monte da Contenda.

December 20, 2019

Transformation of social practice: The Altendorf grave as a place of memory.

Radiocarbon datings of Altendorf

A new paper presents the surprising results of the collaboration between D2 and G1 on the Altendorf gallery grave.

The re-analyses of the Altendorf gallery grave reveal three different phases of inhumation burial practices: 1. collective burials of a whole community (3250–3100 BC), 2. a hiatus in burial practice (3100–2600 BC), and 3. fewer but continuous single inhumations (2600–1450 BC). These changes can be associated with the abandonment of collective social practices all over Central Europe at the end of the fourth millennium BC, and the establishment of new ideologies and the re-use of older monuments by 2600 BC. In Altendorf, this last phase extends to the next pan-European change in burial practices, the then dominant cremation. The Altendorf grave demonstrates the complexity of cultural memory and tradition in the change from a general burial site to a place of remembrance.

Rinne, C.Drummer, C., Hamann, C. 2019. Collective and individual burial practices. Changing patterns at the beginning of the third millennium BC: The megalithic grave of Altendorf. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 21, 75-88. DOI

Figure: Radiocarbon datings of Altendorf (KDE Model).

December 20, 2019

Dark Ages in the North?

Plan of the excavation site of Schönhagen-Brodersby

In two new papers the excavation results of two sites are presented by C1 in cooperation with other subprojects. They describe the changes in northern Germany around 2900 B.C. and point to a rather mobile way of life.

Following the peak of megalithic construction by the  Funnel Beaker societies and preceding new building activities by the Corded Ware societies, the period 3050-2800 BCE can be referred as the ‘Dark Ages’ of the north. Our analysis of this period within the context of a German Research Foundation Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1266) project resulted in a new perspective on the role of settlement patterns associated with a ceramic type known as Store Valby. In addition to small domestic sites, such as Schönhagen LA 107 (Brodersby), which dominate on the western and southern parts of the Cimbrian peninsula, research has identified giant settlements to the west, from around 2900 BCE, and palisade enclosures to the east. Despite the diversity of regional developments in the western Baltic, we think that the general characterization of these centuries as an independent phase of socio-environmental transformations can serve as a model for the entire region.

During the Younger Neolithic (2800 – 2200 cal BC) different transformational processes took place in the Altmark region (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany), which is linked to the northern worlds. Paleo-ecological investigations indicate a significant increase in the human impact on the landscape. We probably are dealing with a highly mobile and translocal society that used smaller seasonal stations and whose economy was based on livestock farming, hunting and fishing as well as crop cultivation. In addition to ecological changes, there are also social changes recognisable in the archaeological material, which are most evident in the funeral practices. After a phase of relatively standardised burials within megalithic tombs a shift to new funeral practices becomes apparent. Sites like Brunau and Lüdelsen also indicate a mixture of different ceramic styles, indicating a strong cultural exchange in this region at that time.

Brozio, J.P.Müller, J.Filipović, D.Kirleis, W.Schmölcke, U., Meyer, J. 2019. The Dark Ages in the North? A transformative phase at 3000 – 2750 BCE in the western Baltic: Brodersby-Schönhagen and the Store Valby phenomenon. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 21, 103-146. DOI

Pfeiffer, A. 2019. Transformations of semi-mobility? The Younger Neolithic in  the Altmark. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 21, 147-156. DOI

Figure: Plan of the excavation site of Schönhagen-Brodersby.

November 08, 2019

Two new articles about textiles and textile production coming soon in the proceedings “The Textile Revolution in Bronze Age Europe”

Impressions of textiles on Bronze Age pottery from the site Bruszczewo, Poland

The two studies investigate textile and textile Production in Central Europe during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (2200– 500 BC). As proof of textiles in the Bronze Age of Central Europe is rare the studies focus on textile imprints, and the distribution of loom weights in Central Europe. Loom weights are found not only in settlements but also in graves and hoard finds. Loom weights have been found since the Neolithic period in the Alpine region, south- east and central Europe, whereas only few finds are known from neighbouring regions to the north and the west. From Lower Saxony and Schleswig- Holstein, loom weights have mainly been documented from the pre- Roman Iron Age and the Roman period. A wide variety of terms for the weights exist in the literature, which have been reduced in this to six basic types. In contrast to the variety of types from the northern Alpine area, central European types are limited to two basic forms. Several case studies show the potential of analysing loom weights and textile imprints for an understanding of ancient textile production. One of the results is the clear transformation of the textile craft from the early to the late Bronze Age to an almost standardized production process of fabrics in Central Europe.

An online database on loom weights is available on the homepage of the Johanna Mestorf Academy.

Kneisel, J.Schaefer-Di Maida, S. 2019. Loom Weights in Bronze Age Central Europe, in: Sabatini, S., Bergerbrant S. (eds.). The Textile Revolution in Bronze Age Europe. Production, Specialisation, Consumption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 80-116.

Schaefer-Di Maida, S.Kneisel, J. 2019. Textile ceramics as a complement to textile research, in: Sabatini, S., Bergerbrant S. (eds.). The Textile Revolution in Bronze Age Europe. Production, Specialisation, Consumption.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 197-216.

To the publisher Cambridge University Press

Figure: Impressions of textiles on Bronze Age pottery from the site Bruszczewo, Poland.

October 17, 2019

Habitat "field" undergoing change

Recent, charred tubers of tuber oat grass

Tuber oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius spp. bulbosum) is a subspecies of wild oat grass – a species today widespread at roadsides and on ruderal areas – that is distributed as weed species in western and southern Europe, but also in Great Britain, and reaches as far as to the Caucasus as well as to northwest-Africa. In Central Europe, charred bulbs of tuber oat grass are regularly found in archaeological contexts up to the pre-Roman Iron Age, but they disappear at the turn of the eras. In an article published in the Journal for Environmental Archaeology, results and interpretations of cultivation experiments with tuber oat grass are presented which were carried out in the Botanical Garden of Kiel University and show that the biodiversity in the habitat "field" was restricted by humans already at an early stage. The decline of the weed species is possibly related to the introduction of the clod turning plough at the end of the pre-Roman Iron Age (1st century BCE), together with late ploughing with this tool at the end of the vegetation period. At least in central continental Europe with its harsh winters, the introduction of the new technology probably contributed to the disappearance of tuber oat grass. This led to new competitive conditions in weed societies. In addition, the cultivation experiments provide a tool for determining the time of year when the tubers were charred. Further, a cooking experiment shows that the starchy tubers are hardly palatable, which makes the use of the tussoks of tuber oat grass as tinder material more likely in prehistoric times. Overall, these results make an important contribution to the research of subproject F3  and once again demonstrate the importance of technological innovation for transformation processes in the interplay between humans and nature.

Effenberger, H., Nickol, M., Kirleis, W. 2019. Arrhenatherum elatius ssp. bulbosum Revisited – A Practical Approach to Decode Past Plant-related Activities. Environmental ArchaeologyDOI

Figure: Recent, charred tubers of tuber oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius spp. bulbosum). (Photo: S. Jagiolla, UFG Kiel)

October 9, 2019

A new study on radiocarbon dating of cremated bone published in Radiocarbon

Cremated human remains from Aarupgaard

Cremated bone has become an accepted material for radiocarbon dating, yet 14C laboratories have divergent perceptions of what sources of contaminants might be present, and employ significantly different pretreatment methods. This of serious concern when examining transformations in prehistory, and has been investigated by researchers from the CRC 1266 subproject G1, in collaboration with researchers from the Laboratory for Radiocarbon Dating in Brussels, the Leibniz Laboratory in Kiel, and the Center for Isotope Research in Groningen.

In a new study published in Radiocarbon, laboratory pretreatment protocols are compared using replicate measurements. The 14C results showed dates to be reproducible between the laboratories and consistent with the expected archaeological chronology.

Rose, H.A.Meadows, J., Palstra, S., Hamann, C., Boudin, M., Huels, M. 2019. Radiocarbon dating cremated bone a case study comparing laboratory methods. RadiocarbonDOI

Figure: Cremated human remains from Aarupgaard, an early Iron Age urnfield cemetery from Southern Jutland, Denmark. (Photo: H.A. Rose)

October 9, 2019

Volume 4 of the CRC1266-series STPAS has been published

Cover How´s Life

“How’s Life? Living Conditions in the 2nd and 1st Millennia BCE” edited by Marta Dal Corso, Wiebke Kirleis, Nicole Taylor, Magdalena Wieckowska-Lüth, and Marco Zanon is now available. This is volume 4 of the CRC 1266-series “Scales of Transformations in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies” (STPAS).

The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age saw many developments in metalworking, social structure, food production, nutrition, and diet. At the same time, networks in Europe intensified and human impact on the environment changed in character. What influence did these transformations have on daily life? Which proxies can researchers use to study these topics?

This volume compiles papers from a session with the same title organized for an international open workshop of the Graduate School ‘Human Development in Landscapes’, entitled ‘Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Development of Landscapes IV’, which took place in 2017, in Kiel, Germany. It presents scientific contributions from different fields of expertise within modern archaeology in order to investigate past living conditions through aspects of the archaeological record related to production (e.g. of food and metal), well-being (e.g. diet, health), human relations (e.g. violence), and the local environment (e.g. pollution, waste disposal, and water management). It also critically addresses contemporary graphic representations of Bronze Age living conditions.
The volume can be read online for free and ordered at Sidestone Press.

October 7, 2019

Volume 3 of the CRC1266-series STPAS has been published

Cover Habitus

“Habitus? The Social Dimension of Technology and Transformation” edited by Sławomir Kadrow and Johannes Müller is now available. This is volume 3 of the CRC1266-series “Scales of Transformations in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies” (STPAS).
The problem of the social dimension of technology and transformation seen in the perspective of the habitus has been repeatedly undertaken in various works. However, the complexity of these phenomena causes subsequent attempts to be presented and explained again in new contexts, bringing interesting observations. 
The edited volume aims to contribute to our better understanding of a system of embodied dispositions hidden under the term ‘habitus’ and presents the latest studies in the social dimension of technology and transformation. These studies mainly cover the areas of Europe from Scandinavia to Italy and to the Balkans and from the British Isles to the Ukraine and to the North Caucasus. In one case, ethnoarchaeological field studies were conducted in distant Indonesia, but they are used to interpret the Hallstatt Culture in Europe. In the chronological dimension, they include the time from the Neolithic to the beginning of the Iron Age. Among the topics discussed are rock art, Trypillian megasites, stone axes and adzes, metallurgy, wagons, archery items, pottery produced on a fast wheel, mechanisms of cultural genesis, dualistic social systems and comments on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, including the concept of habitus. 
The volume “Habitus? The social dimension of technology and transformation” is intended for international academia, representing an important set of information and interpretations for all archaeologists and readers interested in European prehistory.
The volume can be read online for free and ordered at Sidestone Press.

September 27, 2019

A study of CRC 1266 members shows that increasing centralization and lack of participation led to the collapse of mega-sites of the Tripolye culture


The decline of the mega-sites of the Tripolye culture (5000-2700 B.C.) in the North Pontic Steppe inhabited by up to 15,000 people can be attributed to changed socio-political structures, as researchers of the CRC 1266 can show in a study published in PLoS One. This is demonstrated by the diachronic development of certain public buildings. Thus, at the heyday of the Tripolye culture, there were smaller, medium-sized and large buildings that are interpreted as centres of assembly and decision-making. Due to their distribution, the smaller and medium-sized buildings probably served the inhabitants of sub-areas of the large settlements, in which decisions were made on matters at lower and middle level. In the large assembly houses, on the other hand, far-reaching decisions were made. However, towards the end of the Tripolye culture, smaller and medium-sized assembly buildings became less important and eventually disappeared, while large buildings gained in size, monumentality, and importance.
This is interpreted as a concentration of decision-making authority - power - while concerns at the lower and middle levels were no longer addressed. Accordingly, the concentration of power on a smaller group of people or even a ruler increased, while the opportunities for participation of broader population groups disappeared. This socio-political imbalance contributed significantly to the break-up of society and to the final abandonment of the large settlements around 3700 BC. 
The study, in which numerous scientists of the SFB 1266 from subprojects D1, F2  and F3  were involved, was not conducted unilaterally, but also considered other factors, such as an over-exploitation of the environment. However, these could be excluded as an essential cause leading to the decline of the mega-sites.
A detailed press release (in German) can be found here.
Due to its great relevance for the understanding of long-term socio-political developments, the study has already been internationally well recognized, and contributions appeared for example in in NewsweekNew ScientistunianNPLUS1PhysOrgHaaretzLife Sciencealtasoscura and MDR.

Hofmann, R.Müller, J.Shatilo, L., Videiko, M., Ohlrau, R., Rud, V., Burdo, N., Dal Corso, M.Dreibrodt, S.Kirleis, W. 2019. Governing Tripolye: Integrative architecture in Tripolye settlements. PLoS ONE 14 (9): e0222243. DOI

Figure: Aerial view of the 200 hectare settlement area of the Tripolye mega-site Maidanets'ke with excavation areas. The construction of 3000 houses and the feeding of a population of several thousand people meant a considerable intervention in the landscape. The coexistence of 5,000 to 15,000 people also posed a major social challenge, which could only be overcome by establishing functioning political institutions.

September 18, 2019

CRC 1266 involved in a study on earliest globalisation published in SCIENCE

Excavations in Moldova

A recent study published in the journal SCIENCE by 255 international archaeologists, including researchers from the Collaborative Research Centre 1266, fundamentally changes the image of the human transformation of the world. Not only in modern times, but already 4000 years ago, virtually all parts of the earth had been considerably changed by human land use. The research of the CRC 1266 has also contributed to this conclusion, enabling observations on the intensities of settlement patterns and land use.

The complete press release can be found here.

The study has already aroused public interest: Johannes Müller, speaker of CRC1266 and co-author of the study, was interviewed by Spiegel magazine (Spiegel Plus).

Stephens, L. Fuller, D., Boivin, N., Rick, T., Gauthier, N., Kay, A., Marwick, B., Armstrong, C.G., Barton, C.M., Denham, T., Douglass, K., Driver, J., Janz, L., Roberts, P., Rogers, J.D., Thakar, H., Altaweel, M., Johnson, A.L., Sampietro Vattuone, M.M., Aldenderfer, M., Archila, S., Artioli, G., Bale, M.T., Beach, T., Borrell, F., Braje, T., Buckland, P.I., Jiménez Cano, N.G., Capriles, J.M., Diez Castillo, A., Çilingiroğlu, Ç., Negus Cleary, M., Conolly, J., Coutros, P.R., Covey, R.A., Cremaschi, M., Crowther, A., Der, L., di Lernia, S., Doershuk, J.F., Doolittle, W.E., Edwards, K.J., Erlandson, J.M., Evans, D., Fairbairn, A., Faulkner, P., Feinman, G., Fernandes, R., Fitzpatrick, S.M., Fyfe, R., Garcea, E., Goldstein, S., Goodman, R.C., d'Alpoim Guedes, J., Herrmann, J., Hiscock, P., Hommel, P., Horsburgh, K.A., Hritz, C., Ives, J.W., Junno, A., Kahn, J.G., Kaufman, B., Kearns, C., Kidder, T.R., Lanoë, F., Lawrence, D., Lee, G.-A., Levin, M.J., Lindskoug, H.B., López-Sáez, J.A., Macrae, S., Marchant, R., Marston, J.M., McClure, S., McCoy, M.D., Miller, A.V., Morrison, M., Matuzeviciute, G.M., Müller, J., Nayak, A., Noerwidi, S., Peres, T.M., Peterson, C.E., Proctor, L., Randall, A.R., Renette, S., Robbins Schug, G., Ryzewski, K., Saini, R., Scheinsohn, V., Schmidt, P., Sebillaud, P., Seitsonen, O., Simpson, I.A., Sołtysiak, A., Speakman, R.J., Spengler, R.N., Steffen, M.L., Storozum, M.J., Strickland, K.M., Thompson, J., Thurston, T.L., Ulm, S., Cemre Ustunkaya, M., Welker, M.H., West, C., Williams, P.R., Wright, D.K., Wright, N., Zahir, M., Zerboni, A., Beaudoin, E., Garcia, S.M., Powell, J., Thornton, A., Kaplan, J.O., Gaillard, M-J., Klein Goldewijk, K., Ellis, E. 2019. Archaeological assessment reveals Earth's early transformation through land useScience 365, Issue 6456, 897-902. DOI

Figure: Excavations of Copper Age preurban settlements around 3800 B.C. and Bronze Age ash mounds around 1300 B.C. from the D1 subproject in Moldova (Stolniceni) have contributed substantially to the reconstruction of land use and settlement in the forest and grass steppes of Eurasia. (Photo: J. Müller)

September 16, 2019

Exploring climate and landscape transformations between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age onset.

Climate curve

The transition between Copper Age and Bronze Age in the Lake Garda area (Northern Italy, approximately 4150 years BP) saw a radical change in settlement strategies. The relatively sparse Neolithic/Copper age finds leave place to several pile dwelling settlements built along the shores of Lake Garda itself or within the multiple smaller lakes and wetlands present in the area.

A new publication, carried out by subprojects F2, E1 and F3, explores the environmental context before and during the development of the Bronze Age pile dwelling phenomenon. Two major warm/arid shifts occurred during the Neolithic and the Copper Age: a first one is dated approximately between ca. 6300 and 6100 years from the present, while the second occurred between ca. 4600 and 4300 years from the present day. Most notably, a sharp transition into colder/wetter conditions is recorded after ca. 4300 years from the present. This trend persists after the Bronze Age onset, and suggests that the adoption of new building techniques occurred under fast changing climate conditions.

Zanon, M.Unkel, I., Andersen, N., Kirleis, W. 2019. Palaeoenvironmental dynamics at the southern Alpine foothills between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age onset. A multi-proxy study from Bande di Cavriana (Mantua, Italy). Quaternary Science Reviews 221. DOI

Figure: Climate curve produced by combining multiple environmental indicators. Modified from Zanon et al. 2019.

July 18, 2019

Online now! The Holocene Special Issue of the CRC 1266!

The Holocene Special Issue of the CRC 1266

The current research results of the CRC 1266 have been published in a special issue of The Holocene, entitled "Scales of Transformation - Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies". From the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age, from Northern Germany to the Ukraine, the twelve contributions cover the extensive field of work of the CRC 1266 in its large chronologic and geographical scope. All contributions focus on the investigation of transformation processes on different scales. These range from the effects of transformations on individuals, on population dynamics and on entire landscapes, which are investigated with modern modelling approaches. The contributions, which also include theoretical contributions, show the high level of content and methodology of CRC 1266. In addition, they reflect the intensive interdisciplinary cooperation within the CRC 1266, and the resulting improved insights into the transformations of prehistoric societies.

The contributions to The Holocene Special Issue „Scales of Transformation – Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies“ are already available online. The single articles and the abstracts can be found here: Abstracts and Articles. The print version will be published in October.

Figure: Examples from contributions with skull and modelled landscapes. Complied of figures from Fuchs et al. 2019 and Knitter et al. 2019.

July 09, 2019

Out now: Embracing Bell Beaker. Adopting new ideas and objects across Europe during the later 3rd millennium BC (c. 2600-2000 BC)

Cover Embracing Bell Beaker

In the newly released volume of the CRC series “Scales of Transformation in Prehistoric and Historic Societies”, Jos Kleijne shows that local communities adopted ideas and objects in different ways based on settlement evidence from the Bell Beaker period. While some prehistoric communities adopted the Bell Beaker phenomenon fast and as a package, other communities adopted it slower or reworked the ideas to fit them their own cultural sphere. These varying strategies and tempi were related to the existing social networks of information exchange within these communities, Kleijne's research has demonstrated. These emerging Bell Beaker networks of information exchange were based on long-distance mobility of a limited number of individuals, distributing new technologies and practices.

To Publisher Sidestone Press

Kleijne, J. 2019Embracing Bell Beaker: Adopting new ideas and objects across europe during the later 3rd millennium BC (c. 2600-2000 BC), Scales of Transformations 02. Leiden: Sidestone Press Dissertations. 

July 07, 2019

The Kiel conference “Megaliths - Societies – Landscapes” has just been released


The 5th and 4th millennium BCE saw the emergence of monumental architecture in Neolithic and Chalcolithic contexts throughout different parts of Europe. Current research is using a set of diverse methodologies and produces multilayered interpretations in order to create multi-faceted narratives on this phenomenon.

The international conference “Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe” aimed to bring together researchers from various regions and contexts, thus providing an up-to date perspective on prehistoric monumental architecture. The conference was also an opportunity to present the results of the DFG- Priority Program 1400 “Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation. On the origin and development of Neolithic large-scale buildings and the emergence of early complex societies in Northern Central Europe” which focused on the appearance of monumentality in the context of Neolithic Funnel Beaker communities. 

These proceedings present the results of this conference, covering topics such as monuments made of stone, wood and earth, as well as interpretative aspects such as the importance of monumentality for landscape construction and the social significance of monumentality. They are comprised of wide-ranging case studies with a continental scope that illustrate the manifold implications and manifestations of monumentality. They also demonstrate the need of holistic approaches and the integration of diverse data sets for the understanding of a phenomenon of such complexity. For a wider understanding of varying forms of monumentality, ethnoarchaeological studies on megaliths from different continents were integrated as well. 

The conference proceedings show that the construction of monuments may have been driven by very different factors and was embedded in diverse contexts of social organisation, thus being a highly variable and transformative phenomenon.

To Publisher Habelt Verlag

Müller, J., Hinz, M., Wunderlich, M. (eds.) 2011Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe, Proceedings of the International Conference "Megaliths – Societies – Landscapes". Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe, 16-20 June 2015 Kiel.,Vol. 2, Frühe Monumentalität und Soziale Differenzierung 18. Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH. ISBN 978-3-7749-4213-4 

June 27, 2019

Shedding light on the 4.2 ka event in southern Iberia

Diagramm 4,2 ka Event

The 4.2 ka event had been a several centuries lasting dry spell responsible for major societal and cultural transformations. This is at least what some studies from the Eastern and Central Mediterranean indicate. The manifestation and impact of the 4.2 ka event in the Western Mediterranean, on the other hand, is still intensively debated within the scientific community.

A recent publication from the F1 subproject now brings an important contribution into this debate and shows a more complex pattern associated with the 4.2 ka event in southern Iberia than previously thought. According to the study, between about 4400 and 4300 years ago today there was a drought of about 100 years, which was mainly characterized by reduced precipitation in winter. This was followed relatively abruptly by a more stable, humid phase between approx. 4300 and 3800 years before today, which was mainly characterised by increased precipitation in winter. This rapid change is probably due to a shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation.

Schirrmacher, J.Weinelt, M., Blanz, T., Andersen, N., Salgueiro, E., Schneider, R.S. 2019. Multi-decadal atmospheric and marine climate variability in southern Iberia during the mid- to late-Holocence. Clim. Past 15, 617-634.

June 4, 2019

Atlas of Neolithic plant remains from northern central Europe

Atlas of Neolithic plant remains

The "Atlas of Neolithic plant remains from northern central Europe" has been published as volume 4 of the series "Advances in Archaeobotany". It was compiled by Wiebke Kirleis, speaker of the CRC 1266 and Principal investigator in the subprojects F3 and D1, and originated among other projects from her work in the CRC 1266. The atlas compiles high-quality macrophotographs of ancient plant macro remains from 36 sites of the Linearbandkeramik, Funnel Beaker period, Single Grave Culture and Dagger period, and shows which crops and wild plants were available in the Neolithic in northern central Europe. It thus forms a fundamental reference work for future archaeobotanical investigations of this epoch. The atlas thereby complements the Digital Plant Atlas project and was published with Barkhuis publishing.

Kirleis, W. 2019Atlas of Neolithic plant remains from northern central Europe, Advances in Archaeobotany 4. Eelde: Barkhuis publishing. ISBN 9789492444912 

May 20, 2019

Face urns – Images of humans in the past


Faces fascinate, especially those of the past. Face depictions already attracted the interest of collectors and museums early in history.

Jutta Kneisel, project leader of the CRC 1266 subproject D3, has published a vivid volume on anthropomorphic vessels. In the Bronze and Iron Ages they were mainly used as grave urns. This book contains the latest research results on face urns.

In this richly illustrated volume, the reader can expect an insight into the life of a society almost 3000 years ago. Who was the important woman and what role did the old man play? We get to know children and warriors and learn something about trade and exchange networks, which already then led across Europe. Face recognition and the meaning of the face play an essential role for the investigations.

To Publisher Habelt Verlag

Kneisel, J. 2019Gesichtsurnen. Menschenbilder der Vergangenheit.Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH.

May 15, 2019

Long-term effects of human interventions in the Stymphalia lake ecosystem

Lake Stymphalia

The legend says that Herakles fought against the Stymphalian birds at Lake Stymphalia. Today, the lake is fighting for survival because of the overexploitation of its water resources, although it should (actually) be protected as a Natura2000-area.

An article of the E1 subproject published in the current issue of Quaternary Science Reviews shows that drastic changes in the lake ecosystem have already occurred during the last 2500 years. These changes had already been caused by human intervention.

Especially in times of global warming and environmental degradation caused by humans, this exemplary view into the past is particularly important in order to better understand the long-term effects of human interventions in the environment.

Seguin, J. et al. 2019. 2500 years of anthropogenic and climatic landscape transformation in the Stymphalia polje, Greece. Quaternary Science Reviews 213, 133–154.  DOI

Figure: Joana Seguin during fieldwork at Lake Stymphalia, Greece.

April 26, 2019

Continuities and discontinuities of settlement locations during transformation processes in the Middle and Young Neolithic in Eastern Holstein

Oldenburg settlement

Subproject C1 presents the results of the excavations at a Middle and Late Neolithic settlement site with wet soil conservation in the study area Ostholstein in the current issue of Praehistorsichen Zeitschrift. The results were achieved in cooperation with subprojects B2, F3 and F5. The article links in a detailed way archaeological, archaeobotanical and archaezoological results, which were achieved interdisciplinary within the CRC 1266 in the years 2016-2018. Starting from the newly excavated site, continuities as well as discontinuities could be proven on a regional level. In particular, the continuity of settlements on the site is of crucial importance for understanding the transformation process from the Middle to the Late Neolithic in the North German Plain.

Brozio, J.P.Filipovic, D.Schmölcke, U.Kirleis, W.Müller, J. 2018. Mittel- bis jungneolithische Siedlungshinterlassenschaften zwischen 3300–2600 v. Chr. Der Fundplatz Oldenburg LA 232 im Oldenburger Graben, Ostholstein. Praehistorische Zeitschrift 93 (2), 185-224. DOI

Figure: Reconstruction of the domestic site Oldenburg LA 232 in its local surroundings.

February 18, 2019

Bronze Age People: Newest research on population genetics, life style and culture in the Caucasus

Culture in the Caucasus

A paper recently published in Nature Communications gives proof of the complex interaction of people from the eurasian steppe and the Near Eastern countries from 6,500 and 3,500 BC.

The study is based on the analysis of  genome-wide data from 45 prehistoric individuals along a 3000-year temporal transect in the North Caucasus. The project was coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena and the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. Two of the individuals are from the grave site “Kudachurt 14“, research focus of the interdisciplinary thesis of co-author Katharina Fuchs (CRC project Z1).

Read more: Kiel University Press Release

To the article Nature Communications

Chuan-Chao Wang et al., 2019. Ancient human genome-wide data from a 3000-year interval in the Caucasus corresponds with eco-geographic regions. Nature Communications.

Picture: Mount Elbrus, Northern Caucasus (S. Reinhold, DAI Berlin).

February 18, 2019

Special Issue

Think global, act local! Bell Beakers in Europe

Publication Think global, act local !

Special issue 4 of the Journal of Neolithic Archaeology presents a selection of papers from lectures of the “Archaéologie et Goblets“ Bellbeaker Workshop that took place in May 2017 at Kiel University. “Archaéologie et Goblets“ is a network of European archaeologists dedicated to the exploration of the Bell Beaker phenomenon which plays a major role in the transregional distribution of material culture as well as social and economic innovations during the 3rd mil BCE in Europe.

The papers of the special issue provide an international background of the transformations studied within several CRC projects, in particular C1 and F1 which focus on Neolithic transformations in Northern Germany and the Western Mediterranean. The print version of the special issue will be available soon.

Journal of Neolithic Archaeology, Special Issue 4  

Kleijne, J.P., Furholt, M., Müller J. (eds.) 2018. Think global, act local. Bell Beakers in Europe, Proceedings of the Bell Beaker Workshop Kiel 2017. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology  2018, Special Issue 4.

January 9, 2019


A recent study shows numbers for the population development in Europe and the Near East from 6000 to 1000 B.C.

Prähistorische Demographie Karte

Spatial arrangement of sites in Europe and the Near East.



Exact numbers for long gone populations can only be determined indirectly by the evaluation of archaeological finds. A new study published in the online magazine PLOS ONE on 2 January now presents new results on the population density in Europe and the Near East for the period from around 6000 to 1000 before Christ. Aleksandr Diachenko from the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, and CRC 1266 speaker Johannes Müller managed to reconstruct the population numbers for large parts of Europe and Mesopotamia by bringing together expert knowledge from scientific studies on different small regions thus gaining absolute numbers of inhabitants and information on the population densities from thousands of years ago. 

press release (in german)


Müller, J., Diachenko, A. 2019. Tracing long-term demographic changes: The issue of spatial scales. PLoS ONE 14 (1): e0208739. PlosOne 

November 23, 2018

New B2 publication in The Holocene: Early Mesolithic activities at ancient Lake Duvensee

Axe-fitting from Duvensee W1

The latest publication of CRC 1266 subproject B2 “Transitions of Specialized Foragers” presents first results gained by comprehensive investigations of the early Mesolithic key site ‘Duvensee’ in Northern Germany. Together with expertise from subproject F2, the researchers followed a multidisciplinary approach that combined archaeological and palaeoecological proxies. The study makes up a major contribution for Holocene research in this area of Europe and provides new insights into domestic and socio-environmental activities of the early Mesolithic people.


‘The ancient lake Duvensee in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, is one of the prime locations in northern Europe for early Holocene research. Archaeological sites on the former lakeshore provide vivid illustrations of early Mesolithic life, with bark mats and other organic finds preserved, including evidence for the extensive use of hazelnuts. Although the area has been the subject of research for almost 100 years, a coherent summary of these discoveries has not yet been written. Here we review past research at Duvensee, and give some prospects for further research. We show that the Duvensee sites varied in their structure and chronology. While only a limited number of sites can be connected to hazelnut exploitation, some of them show signs of hafting and retooling and other domestic activities. At a few sites, specific hearths were excavated which can be connected with hazelnut roasting and other subsistence activities. Finally, we show that while most earlier studies focused almost exclusively on archaeological research questions, Duvensee has the potential to reveal not only transformations in human behaviour, but also environmental changes at a detailed scale; we therefore argue for a more holistic perspective and multidisciplinary approach to reconstructing prehistoric landscapes and cultural transformations.’

Groß, D., Lübke, H., Schmölcke, U., Zanon, M., 2018. Early Mesolithic activities at ancient Lake Duvensee, northern Germany. The Holocene 29 (2), 1–12. DOI 

Figure: Axe fitting from Duvensee WP 1, witnessing exceptionally good preservation conditions at ancient Lake Duvensee (copyright: Archaeological State Museum Schleswig-Holstein; Groß et al. 2018, Fig. 6, p. 4).

November 15, 2018

Archaeobotanical results from the Middle Bronze Age Carpathain Basin: Plant economy in Kakucs-Turján


The Kakucs-Turján archaeological site was investigated by a Polish-Hungarian-German research team of archaeologists and various specialists. This volume contains the first, preliminary results of their work, giving the reader an insight into the complex history of the Bronze Age settlement and its economic activities as reflected in the multi-layered stratigraphy of the site. The currently analysed materials from Kakucs-Turján may help to indicate the basic parameters of the development and functioning of the Middle Bronze Age Vatya culture; on the one hand strongly based on local tradition, on the other contextualized within a wider network covering the Carpathian Basin.

Aiming at reconstructing Bronze Age plant economy in the Carpathian Basin, the settlement site Kakucs-Turján is one objective of the archaeobotanical investigations conducted in CRC 1266 subproject  F3. Furthermore, subproject  C2  considers Kakucs-Turján in their diachronic studies of settlement dynamics and early farming communities in this region. In Kiel, the Johanna Mestorf Academy as well as the Graduate School 'Human Development in Landscapes' are leading institutions of the international collaboration.

Jaeger, M., Kulscár, G.,Taylor, N., Staniuk, R. (eds.), 2018Kakucs-Turján. A Middle Bronze Age multi-layered fortified settlement in Central Hungary. Studien zur Archäologie in Ostmitteleuropa 18. Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, 13–21. ISBN 978-3-7749-4149-6


Jaeger, M., Kirleis, W., Kiss, V., Kulsár, G., Müller, J., Staniuk, R., Taylor, N., 2018. Kakucs Archaeological Expedition, 13–21.

Jaeger, M., Staniuk, R., Müller, J., Kulsár, G., Taylor, N., 2018. History of the Bronze Age Habitation, 97–118.

Filatova, S., Gissel, C., Filipović, D.Kirleis, W.2018. The plant economy at the Bronze Age site of Kakucs-Turján: first archaeobotanical results, 175–187.

November 15, 2018

Step by step - The neolithisation of Northern Central Europe in the light of stable isotope analyses

In parts, this paper published in Journal of Archaeological Science, has benefit from cluster B and cluster C subproject research and is of major interest for the development of human-environmental interaction during the Neolithic for the northern European scope of the CRC 1266.


‘There is a long lasting debate on the nature of the neolithisation process in the northern European lowlands and in southern Scandinavia. Early evidence of domesticates and crop cultivation indicate a transition to farming in this area during the late 5th millennium cal BC. However, there is limited information how this process took place and to what extent the new economy was adopted during the subsequent centuries. (…) Farming economy was introduced in all parts of the lowlands during the early 4th millennium cal BC, but it was not before the 3rd millennium cal BC that it became fully established on a general scale. Our results correspond well with archaeobotanic evidence. They also contribute important information to the discussion of palaeogenetic data, which provide evidence for autochthonous individuals with signals of hunter-gatherer ancestry in farming societies until c. 3000 cal BC.’

Terberger, T., Burger, J., Lüth, F., Müller, J., Piezonka, H. 2018. Step by step – The neolithisation of Northern Central Europe in the light of stable isotope analyses. Journal of Archaeological Science  99, 66–86. DOI

Figure: Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic results for late Atlantic Mesolithic and Neolithic human individuals from Northern Germany (Terberger et al. 2028, Fig. 7, p. 80).


November 02, 2018

CRC1266 announces “Millet Dating Programme” in Antiquity Project Gallery

Hirse gross

Last year, F3 and G1 projects started a programme of radiocarbon dating of grains of common millet (Panicum miliaceum) found in Neolithic and Bronze Age deposits across Europe. The data will be used to identify changes in the crop cultivation practices and agricultural routine concurrent with the time of millet arrival in Europe and its subsequent (full) integration into the crop spectrum. The study will also try to establish a correlation between the beginnings of millet cultivation and new developments in the material culture (especially objects/tools potentially related to agricultural activities), settlement patterns, and food storage methods. Previous similar work has raised doubts about the age of millet grains reported as being older than the Bronze Age, as the absolute dates demonstrated that some of the ‘Neolithic’ millet is of (significantly) later date.

The F3’s “Millet Dating Programme” expands this initial work to include a much greater archive of archaeological millet–‘small’ (one to several grains) and ‘large’ millet deposits of hundreds or more grains. The initiative encompasses collaboration with a number of colleagues and institutions in Europe and will result in several publications. As now presented in the October issue of Antiquity Project Gallery, the first phase of the programme focuses on the evidence from northern Germany and first results show that millet cultivation likely began in the Late Bronze Age, when a number of changes in settlement, lifestyle and ideology also took place. The next step is to explore how the innovations in agriculture articulate with new developments in other spheres of life.

You can follow the project ‘Before and after: millet cultivation and the transformation of prehistoric crop production in northern Germany’ on Cambridge Core Antiquity 

Filipović, D.Meadows, J., Wiethold, J., Jahns, S., Bittmann, F., Kirleis, W.2018. Before and after: millet cultivation and the transformation of prehistoric crop production in northern Germany. Antiquity 92, 1–6. DOI

Picture: Detailed photographic documentation of millet grains (D. Filipovic)


May 14, 2018

Current CRC 1266 aDNA research: Stone Age hepatitis B virus decoded 

The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography

A study recently published in eLIFE demonstrates the feasibility of recovering viral DNA from ancient samples (aDNA=ancient DNA), and shows the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.

An international team of scientists led by researchers of Kiel University in the framework of the CRC 1266 subproject F4“Tracing infectious diseases in prehistoric populations “ and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (MPI) has successfully reconstructed genomes from Stone Age and Medieval European strains of the hepatitis B virus. The specimen from Sorsum is also part of subproject D2 investigations that focus on Neolithic transformations in the Lower German Mountain Range. The detection of three full hepatitis b virus genomes from archaeological samples represent a methodological breakthrough in aDNA research and sheds new light on the evolution of one of the most widespread diseases with 250 million infected people annually.

Kartierung For more information on thematic relevance and comments by the responsible authors Ben Krause-Kyora (subproject F4, Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology CAU Kiel) and Johannes Krause (MPI Jena) take a look at the official CAU press release.

Krause-Kyora, B., Susat, J., Key, F., Kühnert, D., Bosse, E., Immel, A.Rinne, C., Kornell, S.-K., Yepes, D., Franzenburg, S., Heyne, H.O., Meier, T., Lösch, S., Meller, H., Friederich, S., Nicklisch, N., Alt, K.W., Schreiber, S., Tholey, A., Herbig, A., Nebel, A., Krause, J. 2018. Neolithic and Medieval virus genomes reveal complex evolution of Hepatitis B. eLIFE Genomics and Genomics, Microbiology and infectious disease. Short report May 10, 2018. DOI

Pictures: Cranium of an HBV positive individual from the Stone Age site of Karsdorf, Germany. It is from a male with an age at death of around 25-30 years (N. Nicklisch) / Geographic location of the samples from which ancient HBV genomes were recovered. Icons indicate the sample material (tooth or mummy). HBV genomes obtained in this study are indicated by black frames (Krause-Kyora et al. 2018, fig. A).

April 19, 2018

„Critical Physical Geography in Practice“: Book post by SFB 1266 PostDoc Daniel Knitter    

The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography

Landscape archaeology is an emerging interdisciplinary field where researchers from humanities and sciences investigate human-environmental interactions and interrelations as well as human perceptions of the environment. The CRC 1266 explicitly focuses on many landscape archaeological questions and investigates them in relation to prehistoric transformations. Together with colleagues from the FU Berlin, A2 postdoc Daniel Knitter discusses the challenges that occur in the process of interpreting material remains produced by coupled eco-social systems in a recently published book contribution. They show how critical physical geographic thinking can help to handle such challenges by describing three main themes, i.e. scale and place, cause and process, as well as system responses, whose features need to be addressed when conducting reflective landscape archaeology. They conclude that the success of landscape archaeological research deeply depends on respect and mutual understanding between the social and natural scientific disciplines involved and the willingness of the scientists to learn some of the co-operating discipline’s languages and concepts.

Knitter D., Bebermeier W., Krause J., Schütt B. 2018. Critical Physical Geography in Practice: Landscape Archaeology. In: Lave R., Biermann C., Lane S. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 179–200. Abstract  

March 21, 2018

Settlements of hunter-gatherers: Comparative Perspectives on the Early Mesolithic in the Baltic area

Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe.
In their paper „People, lakes and seashores: Studies from the Baltic Sea basin and adjacent areas in the early and Mid-Holocene” Daniel Groß, Harald Lübke (CRC 1266 subproject B2) and Stefan Dreibrodt (subproject F2) together with eight other colleagues present a comparative study on the Mesolithic in the Baltic region. The article results from the session “Riverbanks and Seashores: The Baltic Sea basin and adjacent areas in the Early and Mid-Holocene” which has been part of the international workshop “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes V”, hosted by the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” and the CRC 1266 at Kiel University in 2017.

The article presents different archaeological case studies and discusses influences on the settlement location of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. While climate historic and ethnoarchaeological perspectives are one aspect addressed for understanding variability and facets of prehistoric behaviour, the authors also show and discuss possibilities for remote sensing and archaeoprognosis. The authors stress that a common and comparable data basis is needed to understand transformations during the Mesolithic. Moreover, the authors argument for integrating a divers and differentiated perspective on prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies for understanding and differentiating local and over-regional characteristics.

Groß, D., Zander, A., Boethius, A., Dreibrodt, S., Grøn, O., Hansson, A., Jessen, C., Koivisto, S., Larsson, L., Lübke, H., Nilsson, B., 2018. People, lakes and seashores: Studies from the Baltic Sea basin and adjacent areas in the early and Mid-Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 185, 27–40. DOI  

Figure: Chronology of sites described in the paper. Climate events and phases of the Baltic Sea are shown as well as and palynological chronozones of Northern Central Europe (Groß et al 2018, fig. 2, p. 29).

January 08, 2018

Recent palynological research on subsistence transformations in the costal zones of Mesolithic Norway

Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe.Based on previous palynological research, the new publication “Towards a refined understanding of the use of coastal zones in the Mesolithic: New investigations on human–environment interactions in Telemark, southeastern Norway” deals with transformations in prehistoric subsistence. In collaboration of Kiel University together with colleagues from Oslo, M. Wieckowska-Lüth, CRC 1266 subproject F3 researcher W. Kirleis, S. Solheim and A. Schülke, both Museum of Cultural History, Oslo University, could identify anthropogenic manipulations in Mesolithic woodlands in the costal hinterland of southeastern Norway. The joint publication tackles the question if early woodland management was an intended or unintended process and in which sense hunter-gatherer strategies of costal hinterland exploitation contributed to forest alteration. Besides evidence for the repeated use of the forested costal hinterland in Mesolithic times, a highlight of their research findings is the consistency of archaeological and palynological data, as both material culture and pollen proxies’ support the fact that the availability of the resource lime (providing timber for dug out canoes and bast for ropes) was one potential trigger for the production and use of Noestvet axes, as the number of sites with these artefacts increases with the onset and peaks in the Tilia pollen curve. Based on this data, as well changes in the woodland composition (occurrance of lime) as transformations in the site pattern (establishment of special workshop activity areas in the coastal hinterland) can be explained.

Figure: Summed probability distribution plot of all published 14C-dates (n = 57) from 18 sites containing Nøstvet axes and production waste in southeastern Norway plotted against the percentage curves of Tilia and Betula. The decreases in the Tilia curve represent opening up of the forest canopy and the potential use of the timber and bast of the lime e.g. for dug out canoes, whereas the increases in the Betula curve demonstrate the starts of the woodland regeneration phases with the pioneer species birch. Figure: Steinar Solheim/Carsten Reckweg (Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, University of Kiel). M. Wieckowska-Lüth et al. 2018, p. 848, fig. 10

Wieckowska-Lüth, M., Solheim, S., Schülke A., Kirleis, W., 2018. Towards a refined understanding of the use of coastal zones in the Mesolithic: New investigations on human-environment interactions in Telemark, southeastern Norway. Journal of Archaeological Science 17, 839–851. DOI 

October 23, 2017

New Publications: Developments of Population Agglomerations, Social inequality and Centralized Control in Neolithic to Iron Age times

Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe.

Three new publications of CRC 1266 speaker Johannes Müller concentrate on aspects of developments and forms of population agglomerations connected to the origin of social inequalities and centralized control in prehistoric Europe. The settlements and Chalcolithic mega-sites in Southeast Europe, especially the Balkan and the North Pontic region. Additionally to the scope of the GSHDL “Human Dresearch benefits from long-term project collaborations and excavations of Neolithicevelopment in Landscapes”, the studies are of main interest for questions related to social and economic transformations addressed in the CRC 1266 (e.g. subproject A1D1interlinking groups “Economies: Stability and transformation” and “Social organisation and Built Space”).

In “From the Neolithic to the Iron Age – Demography and Social Agglomeration. The Development of Centralized Control” Müller takes a diachronic look on patterns of economic and social structures present at sites of population agglomerations and concludes the breakdown of these proto-urban structures as a response of vulnerable societies to internal changes of the state system. Not a general population growth but the concentration of people and the magnitude of control exercised within these communities prevented the development of sustainable socio-political systems, which stays in contrast to the Near East. In co-authorship with CRC 1266 and GSHDL colleagues Vesa Arponen, Robert Hofmann and René Ohlrau, the paper “The Appearance of social inequalities: Cases of Neolithic and Chacolithic Societies” presents a new methodological approach how to detect social inequality and forms of social control. The archaeological record of households from Late Neolithic Balkan villages and Chalcolithic North Pontic mega-sites is examined in order to establish proxies addressing these issues, for instance the social meaning of households by comparing architecture and inventories.  “Inheritance, population development and social identities” discusses the role of households and inheritance rules in Southeast Europe from 5200-4300 BCE related to questions concerning changes of political structures within these societies. Along concrete examples, he considers the institutional and regulatory characteristics of these concepts connected to certain archaeological proxies, such as house size, settlement structure, degree of population agglomeration and regional population density.

Müller, J., From the Neolithic to the Iron Age – Demography and Social Agglomeration. The Development of Centralized Control. In: Manuel Fernández-Götz und Dirk Krause (Ed.): Eurasia at the Dawn of History. Urbanization and Social Change. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017, p. 106–124.

Müller, J.; Arponen, V. P.; Hofmann, R.; Ohlrau, R., The Appearance of social inequalities: Cases of Neolithic and Chacolithic Societies. In: Andrea Cardarelli, Alberto Cazalla und Marcella Fangipane (Ed.): Preistoria e protostoria delle civilta antiche. Thematic issue: The Origin of Inequality. [S.l.]: GANGEMI (Origini. Preistoria e protostoria delle civiltà antiche - Prehistory and protohistory of ancient civilizations, XXXVIII, 2015-2), 2017, p. 65–83.

Müller, J., Inheritance, population development and social identities. Southeast Europe 5200-4300 BCE. In: Maja Gori und Maria Ivanova (Hg.): Balkan Dialogues. Negotiating Identity between Prehistory and the Present. Florence: Taylor and Francis (Routledge Studies in Archaeology) 2017, p. 156–168.

Picture: Müller, Examples of settlement plans in Central and Southeast Europe. The principles of the spatial distribution of houses, the size of houses and continuities and discontinuities might be interpreted as the reflection of different inheritance rules in the archaeological record: Primogeniture contra partible inheritance (J. Müller, Inheritance, population development and social identities, p. 162).

April 12, 2017

Recent publication on calibration of a p-ed-xrf device

Geochemical analysis of a Linear Band Pottery house

Recent publication on calibration of the GS p-ed-xrf device exemplified on geochemical analyses of a 7300-year-old Linear Band Pottery house from Slovakia    

The settlement site Vráble -Ve'lke Lehemby is one major research object of subproject C2 investigating early sedentary social agglomeration processes in the Carpathian Basin. In cooperation, subproject F2 on-site and near-site studies focus on the establishment of environmental proxies in order to reconstruct past local living conditions and human activity. In their recently published paper, the CRC researchers present results on comprehensive multi-element analyses of a trench filling from a 7300-year-old Linear Band Pottery house located at Vráble. The paper discuss application, calibration and methodological evaluation of the portable ed-XRF device including the reconstruction of post-depositional processes of the archaeo-sediment-sequence. Considering phosphorus content as a proxy for human occupation and different factors of multiphase soil formation, the results give new insights into the possibilities of exploring geochemical records from archaeological contexts. The calibration of the p-ed-xrf device revealed the high quality of quantitative elemental measurements under standardized measurement conditions according to the supplemented protocol. Contributing CRC 1266 authors are Stefan Dreibrodt (F2), Martin Furholt (C2), Robert Hofmann (D1) and Martin Hinz (F1).

Dreibrodt, S., Furholt, M., Hofmann, R., Hinz, M., Cheben I., P-ed-XRF-geochemical signatures of a 7300 year old Linear Band Pottery house ditch fill at Vráble-Ve'lké Lehemby, Slovakia - House inhabitation and post-depositional processes. Quaternary International, 2017 (in press). DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2017.03.054

March 07, 2017

New interdisciplinary research on Maidanetske – a key site oft the chalcolithic Trypillia Mega-site phenomena


IIn European prehistory, population agglomerations of more than 10,000 inhabitants per site are an infrequent phenomenon. The unexpected discovery of the Trypillia mega-sites excavated nearly 50 years ago by Soviet, Ukrainian and Moldavian archaeologists using a multidisciplinary approach, uncovered the remains of more than 2000 houses spread over 250 hectares. More…  

Dec 23, 2016

When millet appeared on the menu of humans: Nature Scientific Reports publication

Map Bruszczewo

In context to the Nature Scientific Reports publication “First molecular and isotopic evidence of millet processing in prehistoric pottery vessels” (Heron et al. 2016), SFB 1266 co-speaker Wiebke Kirleis and researcher Jutta Kneisel talked about the results molecular analyses of broomcorn millet residues and it’s meaning in the Bronze Age in Middle Europe. The article emerged from a collaboration with Carl Heron, who specialises in Bioarchaeology (head of the Department of Archaeological Science, The British Museum, London) and an international team of scientists from Poland, Britain, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, and Germany.

For the CRC these results are particularly interesting with regard to changing dietary strategies during the Bronze Age.

Heron identified specific molecular markers for broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) in food crusts remains on ceramics found at the settlement site Bruszczewo in Poland. This proves, that millet was already a human foodstuff of the Late Bronze Age and supplemented the increasing diversification taking place during that period in Middle Europe. Transformation processes of dietary strategies and their social dimensions from a diachronic perspective are central issues of the CRC 1266, especially of subproject F3.

Contributing CRC 1266 authors are Johannes Müller, (A1, C1, D1, F5, Z1), Wiebke Kirleis (D1, F3, Z1) and Jutta Kneisel (D3, F1).

Heron, C., Shoda, S., Breu Barcons, A., Czebreszuk, J., Eley, Y., Gorton, M., Kirleis, W., Kneisel, J., Lucquin, A., Müller, J., Nishida, Y., Son, J., Craig, O.E., First molecular and isotopic evidence of millet processing in prehistoric pottery vessels. Nature Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 38767 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep38767.

Dec 14, 2016

Interdisciplinary research on a gallery grave of the Late Neolithic Wartberg (3350-2900 calBC)

 3-4 year old child buried in the gallery grave of Niedertiefenbach
An interdisciplinary pilot study conducted by scientists from the CAU Kiel, University of Zurich and the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen focused on precise 14C dating of the gallery grave as well as palaeopathological, dental and pathogenic evidence of diseases. Members of the CRC sub-projects D2 and F4 are involved in this study, which has recently been published in the Prähistorische Zeitschrift (in German, with English summary).



New Publications