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Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel



Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes


General Information

Pictures by: A. Ricci, R. Renneberg, V. Robin, F. Bauer


To gain an understanding of human development, one needs to detail the interactions between mankind and both its physical and perceived environment. Graduate training and research already emphasizes interdisciplinary research involving both Arts and Humanities and Natural Sciences on this topic at Christian-Albrechts-Universität (CAU). This is exemplified by numerous graduate projects in Natural Sciences that have been, and are, tackling archaeological problems, while, at the same time, cultural studies and archaeology provide important clues and directions for scientific analysis.

full general information

General Information


The Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes" joins expertise from a wide range of disciplines, as represented by 16 institutes from five CAU Faculties, the Schloss Gottorf Archaeological State Museum, and the Leibniz Institute of Science Education (IPN).

The staff of the Graduate School consists of 25 Principal Investigators, an additional 22 Investigators, 14 scientists and a substantial number of non-scientific members of the participating institutes, three Junior Professors, a Scientific Coordinator, and three postdoctoral fellows.

Structure diagramme

The School's organisational structure ensures cross-institutional and autonomous decisions while being fully embedded within the existing university structures.


Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller

Coordination Commitee:

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller
Co-Coordinators: Prof. Dr. C. Makarewicz & Prof. Dr. Lutz Käppel

Executive Commitee Members:

  • Coordinator: Prof. Dr. J. Müller (Deputies: Prof. Dr. L. Käppel, Prof. Dr. C. Makarewicz)
  • Cluster 1: Prof. Dr. L. Käppel (Deputy: Prof. Dr. A. Davidovic)
  • Cluster 2: Prof. Dr. H.-R. Bork (Deputies: Dr. W. Out, Dr. M. Weinelt)
  • Cluster 3: Prof. Dr. C. Makarewicz (Deputy: Prof. Dr. A. Nebel)
  • Platform 1: Dr. W. Dörfler (Deputy: Prof. Dr. A. Davidovic)
  • Platform 2: Prof. Dr. W. Kirleis (Deputy: Prof. Dr. B. Krause-Kyora)
  • Platform 3: Prof. Dr. J. Wiesehöfer (Deputy: Prof. Dr. J. Bröcker)

Additional Expertise-posts:

  • Education: t.b.a.
  • GS/JMA development: Prof. Dr. R. Duttmann, Prof. Dr. A. Haug, Prof. Dr. B. Krause-Kyora, Prof. Dr. R. Schneider
  • Senior Advisor: Prof. Dr. P. Grootes

Board members by office/group:

  • For Kiel University: CAU President
  • For Junior Professors: Prof. Dr. I. Unkel
  • For Schloss Gottorf: Prof. Dr. C. v. Carnap Bornheim (Deputy: PD Dr. B. Eriksen)
  • For IPN: Prof. Dr. O. Köller
  • Scientific Coordinator: PD Dr. M. Weinelt
  • For Post-Doctoral Fellows: Dr. J. Kneisel
  • For PhD students: Maren Biederbick and Artur Ribeiro

Advisory board:

  • Prof. Dr. Reinhold Bichler, Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altorientalistik der Universität Innsbruck.
  • Dr. Simon Haberle, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University
  • Prof Dr. Andreas Lang, Department of Geography, University of Liverpool
  • Prof. Dr. Pierre Monnet, Deutsch-Französische Hochschule
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hermann Parzinger, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz
  • Prof. Dr. Stephen Shennan, Institute of Archaeology, University College of London
  • Prof. Dr. Helle Vandkilde, Department of Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics, University of Aarhus

About us

The Network

The Network "Human Developments in Landscapes" at the CAU is formed by a group of 38 scientists already working on the subject or intending to participate. They represent 20 disciplines and sub-disciplines, located in 15 Institutes at the CAU and two non-university research institutions.

You can also find more information about the Graduate School Academic Staff in our people section.

Researcher Institute Research area

Aschmann, Birgit, Dr.

(in Kiel until 2010)

Department of History Modern Period History
Auge, Oliver, Prof. Dr. Department of History Regional History
Bork, Hans-Rudolf, Prof. Dr. Institute for Ecosystem Research Ecotechnology and Ecosystem Development
Bröcker, Johannes, Prof. Dr. Institute for Regional Research International and Regional Economics
von Carnap-Bornheim, Claus, Prof. Dr. Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology
Davidovic-Walther, Antonia, Prof. Dr. European Ethnology Department Environmental Anthropology
Depmeier, Wulf, Prof. Dr.** Institute of Geosciences Mineralogy-Crystallography
Dierßen, Klaus, Prof. Dr Institute of Ecosystem Research Geobotany
Dittmar, Manuela, Prof. Dr. Zoological Institute and Museum Human Biology
Dörfler, Walter, Dr. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Archaeobotany

Drechsel, Barbara, Dr.

(member until 2009)

Leibniz Institute for Science Education Pedagogics
Dreibrodt, Stefan, Dr. Institute of Ecosystem Research Ecotechnology and Ecosystem Development
Duttmann, Rainer, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geography Landscape Ecology and Geoinformation
Eisenhauer, Anton, Prof. Dr. Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) Marine Biogeochemie
Eriksen, Berit Valentin, PD. Dr. Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology Pre- & Protohistoric Archaeology
Föll, Helmut, Prof. Dr. Institute of Materials Science Materials Science
Fouquet, Gerhard, Prof. Dr. Institute of History Economic and Social History
Furholt, Martin, Dr. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology
Garbe-Schönberg, Dieter, Dr. rer. nat. Institute of Geosciences Mineralogy. Geology, Petrology
Göttsch-Elten, Silke, Prof. Dr. European Ethnology Department European Ethnology
Götze, Hans-Jürgen, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geosciences Geophysics
Grootes, Pieter M., Prof. Dr.** Leibniz Laboratory Radiometric Dating and Isotope Research
Grotemeyer, Jürgen, Prof. Dr Institute of Physical Chemistry Laser and Mass Spectrometry
Heinrich, Dirk, Prof. Dr.** Zoological Institute and Museum Archaeozoology
Holzheid, Astrid, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geosciences Experimental and theoretical petrology
Horn, Rainer, Prof. Dr. Institute of Nutrition and Soil Sciences Soils Sciences
Jäger, Wolfgang, Prof. Dr. Institute of Materials Science Microanalysis of Materials
Käppel, Lutz, Prof. Dr. Institute of Classics Classical Philology
Kienle, Lorenz, Prof. Dr. Institute for Material Sciences Materials Science
Kirleis, Wiebke, Prof. Dr. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Archaeobotany
Kleingärtner, Sunhild, Dr. (member until January 2012) Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology
Koch, Reinhard, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Institute of Computer Sciences Multimedia Information Processing
Köller, Olaf, Prof. Dr. Leibniz Institute for Science Education Pedagogics
Kroll, Helmut, Dr.** Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Archaeobotany
Kuder, Ulrich, Prof. Dr.** Institute of Art History Art History
Lee, Esther, Dr Faculty of Medicine Ancient Genetics
Makarewicz, Cheryl, Prof. Dr. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Zooarchaeology and Stable Isotope Science

Mausfeld, Rainer, Prof. Dr.

(member until 2010)

Institute of Psychology Psychology

Meier, Thomas, Prof. Dr.

Institute of Geosciences Seismology

Mischka, Doris, Dr.

(member until October 2011)

Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology
Müller, Andreas, Prof. Dr. theol. Institute of Church History Ancient and Medieval Church History
Müller, Johannes, Prof. Dr. Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology
Müller, Wolf Ulrich, Prof. Dr. Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology
Nadeau, Marie-Josée, Dr Leibniz Laboratory Radiometric Dating and Isotope Research
Nebel, Almut, Prof. Dr. Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology Molecular Biology
Nelle, Oliver, Dr. Institute for Ecosystem Research Historical Geobotany
Nübler, Norbert, Prof. Dr. Institute for Slavic Studies Slavic Philology
Pothou, Vassiliki, Dr. Institute of Classics Classical Philology

Prenzel, Manfred, Prof. Dr.

(member until 2009)

Leibniz Institute for Science Education Pedagogics
Rabbel, Wolfgang, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geosciences Geophysics
Rinne, Christoph, Dr. Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology Archaeoinformatics
Seggern von, Harm Prof. Dr. Institute of History Economic and Social History
Schmölcke, Ulrich, Dr. rer. nat. Zoological Institute and Museum Archaeozoology
Schenk, Volker, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geosciences Mineralogy-Petrology
Schneider, Ralph, Prof. Dr. Institute of Geosciences Palaeoclimate Research
Schreiber, Stefan, Prof. Dr. Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology Molecular Biology
Schwark, Lorenz, Prof. Dr. Institute for Geoscience Organic Geochemistry

Simon, Bernd, Prof. Dr.

Institute of Psychology Social Psychology and Evaluation Research

Sönnichsen, Frank, Prof. Dr.

Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry Spectroscopy
Thalheim, Bernhard, Prof. Dr. Institute of Computer Sciences Technology of Information Systems
Unkel, Ingmar, Prof. Dr. Institute of Ecosystem Research Environmental History
Weinelt, Mara, PD Dr. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology Marine Micropalaeontology, Paleaoclimate Research
Wiesehöfer, Josef, Prof. Dr. Institute of Classics Ancient History
Wurmb-Schwark, von Nicole, Prof. Dr. Institute of Legal Medicine Legal Medicine

** emeritus / retired

About us

International and national Partners

The Initiative "Human Development in Landscapes" promotes international networking.

In the Graduate school this is achieved by attracting an inter-national studentship. It provides the students with an international study environment and a stimulating discussion forum for the exchange of ideas, particularly in annual meetings/ workshops together with foreign guests.

The students benefit from the chance to present and develop their projects in a highly interdisciplinary and international environment. The School also provides travelling grants to attend international conferences and for research visits abroad. Finally, the external advisory board, as represented by leading national and foreign scientists from the research fields concerned, furthers international quality standards and promotes networking.

The researchers involved in the Graduate School provide, via their scientific contacts and collaborations, both within Germany and abroad, access to a wide range of international scientific resources.

The Graduate School is embedded in an excellent international network of research institutes and scholars. They cooperate within an international doctoral exchange system, contribute to, and manage international workshops which are organised by the School, and support the graduate research.

The international visibility of the School is ensured by close links with

  • Institutions with quantitative and computational research foci and facilities directed towards landscape and environmental studies (Aarhus, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Gaolway, London, Lund, Gothenburg, Buffalo, Basel, Siena, Barcelona, Stockholm, Zurich, Beira, Leiden, Groningen, Rehovot);
  • Institutions with long fieldwork traditions and significant contributions to the scientific discourse (Bratislava, Poznan, Krakow, Rzesow, Edinburgh, London, Aarhus, Tallinn, Sevilla, Visby, Bristol, Budapest)
  • Institutions with exceptionally well preserved and diverse archaeological prime resources (Sarajewo, Istanbul, Izmit, Gdansk, Madrid).

The cooperation with these Institutions is based not only on joint research fields, but also on joint field work and the exchange of expertise. The spatial distribution of the cooperating institutions is in part due to the research themes regarding Northern and Central Europe, the exchange structures with British and Irish universities, the long existing links to South Eastern European, Turkish and Israeli partners, and the close links to West Mediterranean, thus Iberian universities.

Furthermore, non-European institutions with a high reputation and research fields in Europe are integrated. The integration of the mentioned institutions, some of which is already in place through existing collaborations, to the School will enhance the excellent academic structure supporting the PhD research of the Graduate School: in fieldwork, as well as in computational science and the exchange of ideas, the network will strengthen the international reputation for the School and the students.

List of links:



The Graduate School - Research Training

The Graduate School is directed at an international graduate studentship. Applications will be accepted from candidates who have completed Diplomas, M.A., M.Sc., or equivalent degrees in fields related to the theme of "Human Development in Landscapes".

The educational offer accompanying and supporting the graduates´ research activities (Fig. Holger Dieterich)

The training programme is designed to enable a maximum of flexibility where the different needs and interests of an interdisciplinary studentship can be served through an array of individual solutions.

The three-year School curriculum evolves in two phases. Throughout the first three terms, the students get acquainted with diverse academic basics necessary for the interdisciplinary nature of research in 'Human Development in Landscapes'. Simultaneously, the students develop their research projects within one of the three clusters. Students are also introduced to the techniques and information made available by the research platforms. In the second half of the programme, the students will focus on the realisation of their research project, including writing articles and their PhD thesis. The curriculum will include two-weekly research colloquia, international workshops, excursions, surveys, and excavations.

The average number of doctoral students attending the School is 58, taught by 25 professors and researchers from their groups, as well as by three new junior professors. Dual 'supervision' of the PhD students is provided by professors from two different research fields and preferentially from two different faculties or by a foreign cooperation partner.

You can download the lists of optional courses and biweekly colloquia (Summer term 2008 - Summer term 2011).

presentation at kieler uni live 2013Human Development at Kiel week

The Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes participates in various ways in Kiel University's presentation "kieler uni live 2014" at Kiel Week.  (2014/06/17)

mouse chows lab foodStatistical analysis of mouse diet

Graduate School members Marie-Josée Nadeau and Ricardo Fernandes have co-authored a paper recently published in the online edition of the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).  (2014/06/13)

Books by Hofmann and MoetzFrom Okolište to Upper Mesopotamia in two books

Graduate School members Robert Hofmann and Fevzi Kemal Moetz have recently published new books about their research. (2014/03/28)

Testing new equipmentNew equipment for field work

In late February, a group of Graduate School members and students of the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory went to Kronsburg-Glinde for a week of field work. Among their aims was to test the newly acquired high-precision GPS tachymeter. Read here how it worked. (2014/03/12)

News archive

We would like to congratulate some of our doctoral students:

  • Jessica Susanne Krause presented aspects of her PhD research project at the conference “New approaches to the temple of Zeus at Olympia” in Budapest, May 8-10. Her presentation was titled “Lucianus, Herodotus and the Westpediment”.
  • Together with Bisserka Gaydarska (University of Durham), Graduate School alumna Bettina Schulz Paulsson has edited the volume “Neolithic and Copper Age Monuments – Emergence, function and the social construction of the landscape”. It has recently been published in the British Archaeological Reports International Series (BAR S2625) and contains, among others, an article by Schulz Paulsson about megaliths on Corsica, Sardinia and Malta, a contribution by GS alumnus Fevzi Kemal Moetz on Early Neolithic buildings in Upper Mesopotamia, and a paper by former GS member Doris Mischka concerning plough marks in Early Neolithic Northern Central Europe. The volume is primarily composed of papers presented during a session at the 15th annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. A preview of the contents is available here:
  • Christian Horn and guest researcher Anne Lene Melheim, who spent some time at the Graduate School earlier this year, have recently published a paper on the complexity of Early Bronze Age weapons depositions, see: Melheim, L. and Horn, C. (2014): Tales of hoards and swordfighters in Early Bronze Age Scandinavia. The brand new and the broken. Norwegian Archaeological Review 47 (1), 18-41. It is available as a PDF via the GS website:
  • Karina Iwe participated in a workshop for doctoral students on “Erkundungs- und Entdeckungsfahrten bis an die Grenzen der Oikoumene (9. Jh. v. Chr. – 2. Jh. n. Chr.)” (“Exploration and discovery trips to the boundaries of the Oecumene”) in Madrid from June 16-20 with a presentation titled “Netzwerksystem in den Grenzregionen” (“Network system in border regions”). The workshop was organized by the DAI Madrid and the École des Hautes Études Hispaniques et Ibériques.
  • Wiebke Kirleis has been appointed Professor for Environmental Archaeology at the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory of Kiel University. She started as a Junior Professor at the Graduate School in May 2008, thus she is the first tenured professor, guaranteeing the continuity of this new field of research.

Awards and accomplishments archive

Congratulations to:

  • Jelena Steigerwald, doctoral student of the Graduate School, who passed her disputation on "Denkmalschutz im Grenzgebiet. Eine Analyse der Wissensproduktion und der Praktiken des Denkmalschutzes in der deutsch-dänischen Grenzregion im 19. Jahrhundert." on June 25, 2014.
  • Marta dal Corso, doctoral student of the Graduate School, who passed her disputation on "Environmental history and development of the human landscape in a northeastern Italian lowland during the Bronze Age: a multidisciplinary case–study" on June 25, 2014.
  • Christine Schuh, doctoral student of the Graduate School, who passed her disputation on "Tracing human mobility and cultural diversity after the fall of the Western Roman Empire: A multi-isotopic investigation of early medieval cemeteries in the Upper Rhine Valley" on February 5, 2014. She was awarded a “magna cum laude" (1.0).

Dissertation defense archive


Calendar of events page


Graduate School exhibition in Schleswig

Each of the exhibits displayed at Schloss Gottorf shows a doctoral student’s research work.
Each of the exhibits displayed at Schloss Gottorf shows a doctoral student’s research work. (Photo: Menge)

The Graduate School presents the diversity of its research to a broad public in the new exhibition “Manipulierte Landschaften – 10.000 Jahre Veränderung” (“Manipulated Landscapes – 10.000 years of Change”). It will be displayed at Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig until September 16. Next year, it will be hosted at Kiel’s Art Museum. The central idea behind the exhibition is to foster the external visibility of the Graduate School.

The exhibits are allocated to three essential aspects of the Graduate School’s work: innovation and exchange, human societies and environmental change, and monumentality and rites. These are key themes of research at the Graduate School within the scope of human development in landscapes. The exhibits provide answers to questions such as: How and when did the domestic pig come to North Central Europe? What impact did the extensive use of marble have on urban landscapes in the Roman Empire? What do the journeys of a monument tell us about German-Danish conflicts?

During the opening ceremony on January 20, Cordelia Andreßen, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Science, Economic Affairs and Transport of Schleswig-Holstein, praised the public outreach efforts of the Graduate School, from which the exhibition evolved. Andreßen also found laudatory words for the successful linkage of the natural sciences and the humaniti es within the Graduate School.

Gerhard Fouquet, president of Kiel University, underlined the importance of giving young scientists an excellent education. Fouquet sees the good conditions under which PhD students work at the Graduate School mirrored in the outstanding results presented in the exhibition. Johannes Müller, speaker of the Graduate School, thanked the presidium of Kiel University for funding the exhibition. Müller is pleased to have the exhibition hosted in Schleswig. “Schloss Gottorf attracts many people interested in pre- and protohistory. With a room adjacent to the popular bog bodies, we have an excellent location so that visitors will easily find their way to our exhibition.” Furthermore, Müller sees the premiere of the exhibition in Gottorf as proof for the strengthening influence the Graduate School has within research networks in Schleswig-Holstein.

One of the hot spots attracting many guests during the first evening was an interactive game based on Martin Hinz’ PhD project. The player’s objective is to help a Neolithic village survive by allocating its inhabitants to different fields of work and food production. It is not an easy task, but just as in real protohistory, introducing agriculture helps a lot.

Another exhibit very worth viewing shows Bettina Schulz Paulsson’s research. Bettina investigates megaliths all across Europe and possible links among their builders. To illustrate her work, she has taken thousands of high quality pictures of tombs, graves, menhirs, and henges. Some of the best of them are shown for the first time on a big screen to give an impression of the differences and similarities among them. Additional information is provided on a separate screen, which makes her research easily accessible to a wide audience.

In order to present the exhibits in an attractive surrounding, the Graduate School cooperated with members of the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design, who created a room concept resembling a landscape. The whole process of developing and implementing the exhibition took approximately two years. As it has been constructed modularly, exhibits can be changed or new ones brought in at any time.

“The exhibition is not just a great way of spreading information to the public”, states scientific coordinator Walter Dörfler, “the process of creating it also raised awareness for public outreach issues among the doctoral students.” Coordinator Daniela Menge adds: “It was an exciting task to merge projects from so many different scientific fields in a single exhibition, and I think the result is really worth seeing.”

Further information (in German)

The Graduate School

The academic and scientific objectives of the Graduate School are focussed on, first, the interrelation of Natural Sciences and Humanities in an independent School beside traditional faculties, second, the integration of a highly interdisciplinary research theme of general interest, and, third, a new concept of research training clusters and support infrastructure platforms.

The Structure of the Graduate School, mainly constituted by the Clusters which concentrate on different foci of the subject, and by the Platforms which provide resources and expertise. (Fig. Holger Dieterich)

The graduate students are grouped into three interdisciplinary research clusters representing methodically different approaches to the theme of 'Human Development in Landscapes'. The research done within these clusters is supported by three research platforms, which provide the infrastructure for the graduate activities. The combination of clusters and platforms represents a new concept of form and content in interdisciplinary graduate education. The new Graduate School fosters intensified cross-linkages between academic disciplines and provides for its graduate students an efficient research infrastructure with easy access to the wide range of analytical facilities, data archives, and expertise available at CAU and its non-university partners. This enables the graduate students to do innovative research into the development of human groups in landscapes, touching on themes such as the interaction between individuals, the creation of social spaces, and anthropogenic landscape development in a changing environment. The School enhances the existing CAU strengths in archaeological research and establish CAU as an international research and educational centre in the field.

The Graduate School offers a holistic approach in the study of human development and aspires to become the outstanding location for international graduate training and research in the field of 'Human Development in Landscapes'. Access to a wide range of existing resources and structures in combination with a barrier-free amalgamation of excellent disciplines create a new form of graduate programme with the following important aspects:

  1. Interdisciplinarity: The PhD programme in 'Human Development in Landscapes' brings together graduate students from diverse disciplines and different institutions. This allows a more complete study of research questions by the combination of methods from various academic fields as well as opens up new research perspectives.
  2. Internationality: The Graduate School aims for a participation of 50 % foreign students to create a truly international research environment, stimulating scientific exchange, and networking. International lectures and workshops as well as organisation of and participation in international summer schools will further enhance international orientation and cooperation.
  3. Support centre: A support centre of interdisciplinary character composed of three platforms has been created, offering analytical tools and expertise to support the research of the graduate students.
  4. Practical training: Communication and research management skills are part of the syllabus of the Graduate School and are supplemented by practical experiences in the management and presentation of the student´s own research.
  5. Gender equality: The programme provides a recruiting scheme and a supporting environment for women scientists in agreement with CAU´s general objectives of a balanced representation of female doctoral students. The School will offer support to students and scientists with commitments to childcare.
  6. Competitive capacity: The new programme, with its strong international orientation, generates an international appeal and produces researchers well qualified for international academic-level positions. Thus the doctoral training strategy outlined above clearly is of utmost importance in order to address the subject of Human Development in Landscapes, and meets the demands of a scientific and social environment in change.

Scientific Concept


Pictures by: B. Schulz Paulsson, J. Haacks (CAU, Kiel), Geomagnetic prospection of Okoliste site (CAU, Kiel).

The global theme of human development in their cultural and natural environment is linked to the detection of cross-linkages between different factors: the influence of man on nature and vice versa. At present, the natural change of environmental conditions has to be uncovered at more precise timescales, while the human impact on the environment needs to be understood. The creation of cultural environments amplifies the meaning of landscape: Apart from natural conditions (individual: health and genetics; ecological: soil, climate, vegetation; technological: wind and waterpower, or natural resources), social constants (social hierarchies, ideologies) play a decisive role in the formation of landscapes.

Social environments, within this concept of landscapes, are not only reflected by material remains but also by the spatial imprints of mobility and sustainability. The development of social space under specific ecological conditions is linked to the ideological systems which keep societies, for economic reasons or ritual purposes, together.

In this respect, the study of landscapes does not only concern environmental, demographic, and social reconstructions but also the ideological changes regarding "landscapes": the conception individuals and societies have concerning "nature".

Highly dynamic spatio-temporal processes underlie the data collected by numerous disciplines and the understanding of these processes requires expertise in palaeoclimatic, palaeoecological, palaeodemographic, as well as cultural research.

Though the processes involved are of global character and apply to the entire human history, case studies concentrate on the Holocene, which is the key era of interactions between humans and landscapes, and mainly in Europe and adjacent regions.

A critical reflection on the encoding and representation of material culture, spatial development, and landscape is unavoidable.

The appropriation of landscapes by societies and their ambiguous symbolisms leaves room for many different reconstructions of the environments of different social groups and cultures.

The Graduate School - Research Clusters



Cluster 1: Society and Reflection

Cluster 2: Social Space and Landscape

Cluster 3: Adaptation and Innovation


According to the underlying Scientific Concept, a division of the general relation between cultural and natural environment into three general themes is essential:

  • How did human groups conceive their natural and cultural environments and thus their landscapes? Which means were used by societies to structure their landscape?
  • How did environmental conditions change and how was social space re-organised within the new local, regional, and global conditions? What kind of landscapes evolved after the iterative processes of the interaction between nature and society?
  • How did demographic and technical changes influence the formation of social groups and landscapes? What kind of genetic differentiation is visible in animal and human groups after the pre-shaping of environmental conditions?

The three related research premises serve as the main research areas of the Graduate School: Society and Reflection (Cluster 1); Social Space and Landscape (Cluster 2); Adaptation and Innovation (Cluster 3).

As the universally relevant factors that underlie the concept of landscape as social space and natural environment bearing the activities of human groups require the thematic cross-linkage of several disciplines, the PhD research proposed within the clusters is centred on highly interdisciplinary sub-themes.

The Graduate School - Supporting Research Platforms



Platform 1: Communication Platform

Platform 2: Technical Platform

Platform 3: Arts and Humanities Platform


Education and research in the three clusters is supported by three platforms providing a broad range of resources, training, and additional expertise for the School. A group of consultant scientists from the Arts and Humanities and from the Natural Sciences provide advice to the students. Their presence is necessary to bridge the cultural gaps between the different disciplines and advise the PhD students regarding techniques and resources available in research areas outside their immediate field of expertise.


Photos by: pur.pur, S. Bergemann und J. Haacks, CAU, Kiel.


Current research Projects

Selection of the participating scientists' research projects and research training programmes related to the subject

Pre- and Protohistory


Archaeological State Museum Schloss Gottorf / Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology


Projects in applied archaeometrical Geophysics:

Institute for Ecosystem Research

Social Psychology

Legal Medicine

Clinical Molecular Biology

Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research

Soil Sciences and Plant Nutrition

Palaeoclimate Research

Classical Archaeology

  • Die Karer und die Anderen
  • Interdependenzen urbanistischer Veränderungen im hellenistischen Priene, Teilprojekt "Privater Raum"´.

European Ethnology

  • DFG-Projekt: „Volkskunde als „Heimatwissenschaft: Region und Ethnos. Das Beispiel Schleswig-Holstein 1920-1940“.

Institute of History

  • Energieversorgung spätmittelalterlicher Städte