Distribution Systems of Pottery (A-6-3)

Research project

The focus of the project was the determination of production sites of pottery, the ceramics’ distribution and consumption spaces in a clearly spatially limited area, part of a river valley, over time.

Nabataean Fine Ceramics (A-6-7)

Research project

This research project explored the emergence and distribution of Nabataean fine ceramics in the 2nd century BC – 4th century AD. It was investigated to what extent the typical type of ceramic is to be classified as an identity marker of Nabataean culture and society.

Spheres of Exchange in Southern Iran (A-6-2)

Research project

This research project analyzed 5th millennium pottery from the Iranian site of Tepe Sohz which was excavated briefly in the early 1970s. The goal of the pottery analysis was to evaluate two competing models for the socio-economic and political development of 5th millennium BCE societies in southwestern Iran, one proposal by William Sumner (1994) and the other by Abbas Alizadeh (1988, 2010). Both models assign craft specialization an important position. However, while Alizadeh attributes such specialization to surplus from herding activities, Sumner claims that it is due to a surplus stemming from agriculture.

Archaeozoological Analyzes of Domestic Sheep (A-4-2)

Research project

This research project was devoted to the process of a major economic shift in sheep husbandry that by the end of the 4th millennium BC took place in South-West Asia. From that time onwards, sheep management was rather focused on fiber exploitation than on meat and milk, requiring the transformation of sheep with hairy coat to those with a woolly vlies.

Early Use of Wool in the Near East and Europe (A-4-1)

Research project

Within the scope of this project, two dissertations investigated indirect archaeological evidence of textile production in two separate study areas: the Near East and the South East and Central Europe.

Water Management (A-3-1)

Research project

The research objective of A-3-1was the investigation of ancient or historical water management. Water management turned out to be a very fruitful object in the sense of a “bridge topic” between environmental, archeological and social sciences, which is also high on recent political agendas and in academia. The primary goal of the project was to evaluate “water management” in its different applications and understandings at various time- and spatial scales. The junior research group “Water Management” was anchored in this research project. The work was carried out in close cooperation with Areas A-D.

The Beginnings of Iron (A-5-3)

Research project

This project focused on the cultural, economic and social role of iron in the ancient Near East during the Late Bronze Age, with particular attention paid to the evidence from the Hittite Anatolia.

The Art of Conjuration (B-4-1)

Research project

The extensive surviving ritual literature of the Hittite archives is distinguished by its clear connections to non-Hittite sources; “foreign” rituals were adopted in Hattusa, and a whole series of rituals can be explicitly differentiated in terms of regional “ritual schools” – or at least they give this impression. The sources provide not only the name of the “author” of individual rituals, but also his place of origin; whole groups are assigned places of origin, so that the literature speaks of “Arzawa Rituals”, “Kizzuwatna Rituals”, and so on. However, whereas in the archives of the capital city Hattusa one encounters a whole series of rituals that very clearly originate from elsewhere – Northern Syria, Mittani, Assyria or Babylon – the majority of this “imported” ritual literature does not differ from the remaining Hittite sources. Thus, the question naturally arises what was the nature of the statements of origin contained in so many of these texts. Are we actually dealing with local reception of “global” knowledge, or with a fiction? Can the knowledge that underlies these rituals and ritual groups be distinguished on the basis of regional origins? More generally, what role is played by this regional localization of knowledge traditions? Can knowledge be divided into “global” and “regional”, and if so, how do these classes interact?

Monumentality as Policy (B-2-2)

Research project

This project investigated the function(s) of oversized building projects in the Ancient Near East. Research was conducted into the logistical and economical  aspects involved in implementing large-scale building projects and references the cuneiform archives of the 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC and the monumental expansion of the city of Babylon that took place under the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC).