Mapping Water Technology (A-3-3)

Research project

This research project investigates the emergence of hydromechanics in the context of water management systems from antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Personal and Nonpersonal Authority (B-5-2)

Research project

The project has, as part of a more encompassing interest in how experts create and manage their respective microcosms, investigated the forms of personal and of non-personal constructions of authority in ancient Greek knowledge traditions with a focus on theoretical knowledge. Proceeding from sociological and theoretical work on authority, Markus Asper has channeled his input into three conferences and the ensuing proceedings as well as 15 papers devoted to aspects of the overarching cluster of questions.

Ancient Succession Narratives (B-5-1)

Research project

This project has investigated issues of succession in various cultural and religious contexts of the ancient Mediterranean and neighboring areas. In particular, it was examined how narratives of succession and/or genealogy served to create and stabilize collective identities, and how attempts were made to demarcate these from other sources of knowledge authorities and traditions.

Shifting Things and Identities (B-4-4)

Research project

One of the fundamental questions of archaeology is the linking of spatially situated material culture to identities. Without taking recourse to the essentialist assumptions that have lately fallen under scrutiny concerning the existence of static and hermetic entities, this project investigated the dynamic correlation between collective identities, knowledge and space.

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 investigates the function(s) of oversized building projects in the Ancient Near East. Research is 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).

Copper Alloys (D-6-6)

Research project

The goal of the project “Copper Alloys” is to determine the locations of similar metal formulas. The resulting maps will differentiate based on object class and source, thus depicting the spread of similar types of metal formulas either as a transfer of knowledge among metalworkers or as a transfer of goods.

Lead and Silver (D-6-3)

Research project

This research project investigates the extraction and processing of silver from the 6th to the 1st c. BC. The project will examine the development and spread of the refinement process that enabled craftsmen to separated silver from lead.

The Unequal Armed Balance (D-5-5)

Research project

The project investigates the emergence and development of balance scales with variable arm-length of which the so-called Roman steelyard is the most well-known.