Man and Environment

This Strategic Research Area encompass projects that use different methodologies to study the interaction between man and the natural environment of the Baltic Sea region from a historical perspective.

Here, cultural developments also always reflect the history of both aquatic and terrestrial environments, from the time of the reindeer hunters in the late Ice Age to the early Neolithic farmers of the Funnel Beaker Culture and the Viking Age coastal trading centres. In the Scandinavian and Baltic regions, it was above all the striking changes in the topography and the succession of flora and fauna that decisively influenced human behaviour. Most important of all, however, were changes in the climate and their effect on the ecological systems in which people lived. They forced people to adapt, encouraged innovation and could trigger social change.

Aktuelle Ergebnisse zum steinzeitlichen lettischen Muschelhaufen Riņņukalns (der Hügel links im Bild) wurden kontinuierlich seit 2014 publiziert.

Equally important for this Strategic Research Area is the opposite perspective: human beings have also always influenced their environment. In the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods this influence had little effect but it gradually increased as a food-producing economy encroached on the landscape in later periods. By this time, human beings were deliberately modifying the natural environment by establishing fixed settlements and field systems, by animal husbandry and the keeping of animals for trading or status purposes as well as the selective hunting of large game – either because the species in question threatened their homes and fields or because specific hunting traditions had developed.

The aim of this Strategic Research Area is not only to investigate the impact of the prevailing environmental conditions on cultural development and human behaviour in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions but also to study the social and economic conditions inherent in the interaction between man and his surroundings. Close cooperation between archaeology and the natural sciences is decisive in the first case and between archaeology and the arts and humanities in the second case.

Dr. John Meadows bereitet Knochenpulver für naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen vor.
Dr. John Meadows bereitet Knochenpulver für naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen vor.

The following Research Priorities are included in this Strategic Research Area:

Fundamental research in scientific archaeology
History of Hunting and Fishing
Hunter-gatherers in their Natural Environment

Laufende Forschungsprojekte des Themenbereichs: