Kiel Archaeology Strengthens Cooperation with Partners in Ukraine

Professor Johannes Müller on official visit to Kyiv

Yesterday, Kiel archaeologist Professor Johannes Müller visited the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as spokesman of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and the Collaborative Research Center 1266 "Dimensions of Transformation" at Kiel University (CAU) as well as a representative of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA). There he signed a new cooperation agreement of the Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory of the CAU with the Institute of Archaeology at the Borys Grinchenko Kyiv Metropolitan University and reaffirmed the existing cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine that has already existed for 10 years. Müller is the first Western European archaeologist to visit Kyiv since the start of the Ukrainian war.

"Ukraine has been an important partner country for us for many years," Müller explained in Kyiv, "so I would like to send a signal, especially in the current situation. The new cooperation agreement and the continuation of the existing cooperation with two important institutions strengthen the already good cooperation and lays the foundation for further joint projects as soon as the war ends. In addition, we are adapting existing agreements to the current situation."

Hosts express gratitude for visit

Professor Viktor Chabaj, head of the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, expressly thanked the guest from Kiel: "At present, it is not a matter of course that colleagues from abroad visit us. We are all the more pleased about this visit and the continuation of the existing cooperation agreement even in these times. Of course, we hope that soon we will be able to conduct excavations and scientific research together again in Ukraine."

Professor Mikhail Videiko, head of the Archaeological Institute at the Borys Grinchenko University in Kyiv, added: "Research only works in international cooperation. It's good to see that the Russian government's brutal war of aggression can't cut the bond between peacefully cooperating scientists."

The new cooperation agreement provides, among other things, that archaeological finds from Ukraine can continue to be safely studied and evaluated in laboratories at Kiel University. It also aims to give Ukrainian archaeologists even easier access to know-how and data, as well as to excavations outside Ukraine.

Ukraine is important for understanding the first large settlements in Europe

Ukraine occupies a special position in the study of European prehistory. Among other things, traces of large settlements dating back more than 5,500 years can be found there, which already had several thousand inhabitants at the end of the Neolithic period and had early urban structures.

The Institute for Prehistory and Protohistory at the CAU, where Johannes Müller holds the professorship for Prehistoric Archaeology, as well as the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and the SFB 1266, are among the world's leading institutions in the study of this so-called Tripolje culture.

"The large settlements are older than the early advanced civilizations in Mesopotamia. They can be used to study very fundamental processes of human societies," Müller explained. How do early cities organize themselves? How did they react to environmental changes? How was their sustainable economy possible? Why did conflicts arise - or not? "These are precisely the topics we are working on in SFB1266 and in the ROOTS Cluster of Excellence," the prehistorian continues.

Currently however no excavations can take place in Ukraine. Therefore, Russia's attack on Ukraine in violation of international law is a catastrophe not only from a human but also from a scientific perspective, Müller emphasized, who is currently leading the excavation of a Tripolje settlement in Moldova.

Further links:

Cluster of Excellence ROOTS:
CRC 1266"Scales of Transformation - Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies":
European Association of Archaeologists:


Group photo with six persons.
Large rectangular shallow pit on a green meadow. On the right edge a person is standing and looking into the pit, on the upper edge of the picture a car and five people.
Group photo with three people in front of a bronze statue.
© Borys Grinchenko University

On Monday morning, Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller (center) signed a new cooperation agreement with the Archaeological Institute of the Borys Grinchenko University in Kiev. Left: The head of the institute, Prof. Dr. Mikhail Videiko; right: Prof Dr. Olga Vyhovska, head of the Department of International Relations at Borys Grinchenko University.

White plastic bins and a black rubbish bag are piled up in a car with a sliding door. On the right-hand side, a man stands next to it and looks into the vehicle.
© Johannes Müller

With a lot of personal commitment, the Ukrainian archaeologists bring soil samples from excavations to the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. There they hand them over to their German colleagues.

The new cooperation agreements make it even easier to safely analyze and store finds and samples from Ukraine in Kiel.

Scientific contact:

Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller
Institute for Prehistory and Early History at Kiel University


[EN] Pressekontakt:

Jan Steffen
Media and Public Outreach, Cluster of Excellence ROOTS