2019 International Open Workshop

 Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI

Menschen in einem Seminarraum.
© Carsten Reckweg

High attendance and productive time for discussion during one of the workshop sessions.

The International Open Workshop "Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI" took place for the sixth time at Kiel University (CAU) from 11 to 16 March, thus having become a standing appointment for the international community studying past interactions between societies and their environment. Over 300 papers and 45 posters from archaeologists, environmental scientists, life scientists and experts from other disciplines were presented in 19 individual sessions.

“The workshop offered a unique cross-disciplinary venue to discuss recent results ranging from aDNA studies to overregional socio-cultural connectivities, from transformations of past ritual practices to human response to climate and environmental change”, emphasizes Prof. Johannes Müller, archaeologist and speaker of the three initiatives.  „In addition to transformation topics, which the members of the Collaborative Research Centre 1266 have highlighted in a central event with external guests, the new ROOTS Cluster of Excellence with its highly topical topics has already set clear accents and opened up global perspectives.

For example, it was possible to trace even long-distance migrations back to ecological and social problems for a wide variety of times. It became clear that the vulnerability of societies in many periods of prehistory and history often led to collapses after centuries of stability. In addition to such content-related aspects, the conference also revealed an extreme progress in methods: on the one hand, the integration of new methods from the natural sciences into archaeology, and on the other, the use of cultural models for the interpretation of scientific studies.

Among the highlights of the workshop, three keynote lectures by Prof. Laure Salanova (French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS), Prof. Tim A. Kohler (Washington State University) and Prof. Christine A. Hastorf (University of California at Berkeley) addressed broad topics of high interest for the study of past human-environmental dynamics.

Furthermore, the Italian prehistorian Gianpiero Di Maida was honoured with the Johanna Mestorf Award for his outstanding PhD thesis in the fields of human-environmental research and landscape archaeology. Di Maida received the prize that is endowed with 3.000 for his research on “Marks on the rocks. Rock and mobile art as expression of the hunter-gatherers' groups Weltanschauung in the Sicilian landscape from Lateglacial to Early Holocene”.

The dedicated poster session also attracted a lot of attention and offered the opportunity for enriching discussion in an informal setting. Mihaela Savu, Joana Seguin, and Stefanie Schäfer-Di Maida received a prize for the three best scientific posters, a result of the vote by the workshop participants.

Guests from all over Europe, the USA and China will not only remember the consistently bad Kiel March weather, but also the dinner on the paddle steamer Freya and the excursion to archaeological sites in northern Schleswig-Holstein.

This year for the first time, the workshop was organized together with the Collaborative Research Center 1266 and the new ROOTS Cluster of Excellence. Last but not least, it was also rehearsal for the EAA, the annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. This largest European archaeological conference will take place in Kiel in September 2021 with approximately 2,500 participants.

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Die Preisträgerinnen der Posterpreise
© Anna Sara Jagiolla

(from left): Stefanie Schäfer-Di Maida, Joana Seguin, and Mihaela Savu, winners of the prize for the three best posters.

Menschen bei einem Workshop.
© Anna Sara Jagiolla

Participants of the workshop during the poster session.

Preisträger vor einer Tafel.
© Anna Sara Jagiolla

Gianpiero di Maida (second from left) receives the Johanna Mestorf Award 2019 from the hands of Professor Lutz Käppel. Professor Johannes Müller (left) and PD Mara Weinelt were the first to congratulate him.


Prof. Dr. Johannes Müller
Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology
Kiel University, Germany
+49 0431 880 3391


PD Dr. Mara Weinelt
Cluster of Excellence ROOTS
Kiel University, Germany
+49 431 880 3391