This paper attempts to analyze modern settlement archaeology as a kind of ‘experimental system’ that by technical means generates new ‘objects of knowledge’. The productivity of such a perspective can be demonstrated by looking more closely at the development of modern settlement archaeology in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The objects of knowledge that constitute this field of research were not present from the beginning, but developed only gradually out of field archaeological practice. During this ‘experimental’ process on-site observations were combined with insights from more or less distant contexts, often in a quite unsystematic manner. Among the more complex objects of knowledge generated by modern settlement archaeology is the so-called Fürstensitz, or princely residence, of Central European Iron Age research.