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Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA)

Our history

The ZBSA was founded in September 2008 and is, therefore, a very young research institute. It is the only non-university institute in the Federal Republic of Germany that concentrates on transregional archaeology over the ages in the North Sea and Baltic regions and Scandinavia. With its wide-ranging field of research, the capability to undertake long-term projects that require a considerable investment of time and money and the successful application of the latest methods by an international staff, the ZBSA is able to fill a gap left by other national and international institutions.

Our research assignment

Our aim is to conduct archaeological research into the North Sea and Baltic regions and Scandinavia, with due attention also paid to the adjacent areas. The research is not limited to a single chronological period and is methodologically multifaceted and interdisciplinary. The results of this research process are then made generally available. The extent of our research area can be seen in a whole range of factors which ensue not only from the intrinsic object of the research but also from the different research traditions in Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Eastern Europe.

The structure of our research

The structure of our research activity was developed with particular regard to the research area and its specific challenges. The principal purpose of the structure is to accommodate overall archaeological requirements while setting clear priorities. These are reflected in three basic themes: ► Man & Artefact, ► Man & Society and ► Man & Environment, under which the individual ZBSA ► research projects are classified. Projects with closely related content are bundled together in clusters, which thus indicate focal areas of research within an overall theme.
At present, the ► ZBSA team consists of approximately 25 academic researchers from ten different countries. In addition, there are about 10 technical and administrative staff.
Our projects are mainly carried out in close cooperation with ► partner institutions in Scandinavia, in the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia as well as in the Federal Republic of Germany. However, there are also fields of cooperation with archaeological institutions outside our core research area. A great advantage within the framework of this cooperation is the availability of our scientific expertise and physical infrastructure (a specialist library that concentrates mainly on the archaeology of Scandinavia and the Baltic area, the ► Department of Geographical Information Systems, ► archaeogenetics laboratory, ► archaeozoological reference collection, ► lithics-analysis laboratory).

Basic principles

ZBSA research is carried out in accordance with the rules for sound scientific practice established in 2013 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). The objects of our research and our own self-perception presuppose and demand that our activities be internationally orientated. We encourage internationalization with a high quota of foreign researchers on the team. We consider cross-border discussion as the basis for excellent, non-dogmatic research, especially in view of our role as a bridge between the different research traditions in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Northeastern Europe and Central Europe.
Our international orientation, the high proportion of female colleagues (also in leading positions) and the comparatively young average age of the team all show that equality, equal opportunity, non-discrimination and the compatibility of work and family life are major aspects of our self-perception.
We place great value on encouraging the next generation of academics and provide both academic and structural conditions for successful careers.

Our aims

Our aim is to conduct excellent research that is made rapidly and widely available, with results that generate new topics and raise new questions for future research.
Our future lies in expanding our core competence and our international research network, in developing promising new fields of investigation and providing further targeted encouragement for interdisciplinary cooperation in archaeological research.

Our location

As part of the Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, we operate on the same premises as the State Archaeological Museum, Schloss Gottorf, which has a 180-year history as an institution and is one of the oldest of its type in Germany. At the same time, we have a close partnership with Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel).
The State of Schleswig-Holstein has a unique position in the national context of the Federal Republic of Germany as a result of its geographical location. To the west, it borders on the North Sea and thus, in the broader sense, on the North Atlantic; to the east lies the Baltic Sea while, via the Jutland peninsula, Schleswig-Holstein links the Central European land mass with Scandinavia.
A distinguishing feature of the city of Schleswig is its very chequered history between Germany and Denmark. The previous settlement, Hedeby (Haithabu), was a flourishing harbour and trading post in the Viking period, at the meeting point between Scandinavia and Central Europe. Its wealth of archaeological finds has made it a subject of research for over a hundred years. In more recent times, Schloss Gottorf, the residence of the Dukes of Gottorf and Danish governors, played a major historical role.
In this environment of historical tradition and modern research, the ZBSA finds itself in an ideal position. The Schlei firth and the nearby beaches on both the North Sea and Baltic coasts also contribute to attractive living conditions.

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