Appointment strengthens research area at the Kiel Institute for Prehistory and Early History
The Kiel archaeologist, Dr. Oliver Nakoinz, has been appointed to an "außerplanmäßige" professorship for quantitative archaeology at Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel). In addition to his merits in archaeological research and teaching, his international reputation in the field of spatial-statistical archaeology was particularly decisive for the appointment.
As a scientist in the Johanna Mestorf Academy of the Kiel Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Nakoinz is responsible for numerous projects. Among other things, his ground-breaking studies on spatial communication patterns in Celtic Southern Germany, which deal with the formation and networking of fortified Iron Age settlements, are to be highlighted. In addition, he heads the Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) as well as a modelling project in the Kiel Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1266 and, together with the University of Cambridge, a CRC project on the interaction between Northern Italy, Southern Germany and Northern Germany in the 1st millennium BCE. The renowned book series “Quantitative Archaeology and Archaeological Modelling”, published by Springer, was developed by Nakoinz.
“The appointment as a professor of quantitative archaeology strengthens the development of this research area”, remarks Nakoinz happily. Quantitative archaeology addresses the structures, which are more or less concealed in archaeological data. These structures are made visible with mathematical and statistical concepts and, together with archaeological theories, generate new knowledge about the past.
One area of quantitative archaeology is pathway research. In this context, terrain data is used to calculate how a route between two locations should be theoretically conceived. “If you compare these theoretical paths with empirical evidence, such as burial mounds that can indicate paths, you can validate how well different models are adapted to reality. From this, one can infer which aspects were considered in prehistory when selecting a route,” explains Nakoinz. The models can convey the meaning of the empirical results. “This enables us to more easily understand why people in prehistory acted in a certain way,” explains the archaeologist.
For decades, quantitative archaeology has been implemented at Kiel University and, in the meantime, Kiel has developed into a leading location in this field, which is reflected, among other things, in the Initiative for Statistical Analysis in Archaeology Kiel (ISAAK) and in the newly founded Center for Interdisciplinary Data Science (CIDS). The participation of quantitative archaeology was also decisive for the approval of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS and the SFB 1266, two scientific collaborative research projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).