Aufgabe des ZBSA ist die regionen- und epochenübergreifende archäologische Forschung in Skandinavien, dem nordatlantischen Raum, dem Baltikum und dem ehemaligen Ostpreußen (Teile Polens, Litauens und Russlands). Unser Ziel ist die breit gefächerte Rekonstruktion der Vergangenheit im interdisziplinären Verbund mit anderen Wissenschaften.

Die Archäologie im weitgespannten Arbeitsgebiet des ZBSA zeichnet sich durch wissenschaftlich relevante Besonderheiten aus, die sich in seinen Forschungsfeldern (Research Priorities) widerspiegeln:

the late settlement of the area after the end of the last Ice Age; its peripheral location with regard to the cultures of Central and south-eastern Europe and their influence; the strong maritime aspect with the resulting economic and social models, as well as – after the Stone Age – limited access to raw materials, which led to the creation of vital communication routes and networks. As a result, the cultures in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions developed individual, but not isolated, solutions and innovations. Typical, also, are the historically relatively long cultural and settlement continuities, which give rise to their own particular scientific challenges.

The academic content of ZBSA’s activity consists of three Strategic Research Areas: Man and Artefact, Man and Society and Man and Environment The next level, as far as content and methods are concerned, is divided into different Research Priorities, in which research issues common to several projects are discussed. Priorities are assigned to the individual Research Areas, although the contents can overlap. Individual projects are always assigned to a specific Research Area even if they are not part of an official Research Priority, although this is an exception.

The ZBSA is thus committed to a holistic research programme, in which archaeology is considered a methodological bridge linking it to other disciplines in the humanities, cultural, social and natural sciences.