As part of the EAA Annual meeting, we had planned a number of excursions to show you the archaeological heritage of Germany’s northernmost federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Now, due to reasons known to all of us, we are not going meet on site. Thus, we prepared four short films to at least give you an idea of what you would have encountered. Enjoy!
Landmarks of the North: Megalithic tombs and Bronze Age grave mounds
Megalithic tombs and Bronze Age grave mounds are the most visible remains of prehistoric times in the landscape of Schleswig-Holstein.
Megalithic tombs emerged as visual manifestations during the Neolithic period and represent collective burial rituals. At the transition to the Bronze Age, individual graves develop in the form of burial mounds. Both forms of monumental structures stand for great collaborative efforts. But while this practice was primarily for the community during the Neolithic, in the Bronze Age the focus turned towards the individual.
The film shows examples of these different burial forms, describes how they are being researched, and explains the conclusions drawn from the results.
Hidden treasures in the Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea along the German North Sea coast forms an aquatic landscape with a rich archaeological heritage. Natural and human influenced dynamics and repeated catastrophic storm events have constantly reshaped the marshes and tidal flats throughout history, forcing the coastal communities to find strategies of adaptation to these changes. The tidal flats and young marshes conceal traces of medieval and early modern settlements and their cultural landscapes.
The film introduces you to the archaeological fieldwork carried out in the Wadden Sea and particularly on the small North Frisian island of Hallig Hooge. Here an interdisciplinary team investigates the early to late medieval settlement patterns as well as the causes and dynamics of the rise and decline of the early settlements on the tidal flats. Geophysical prospections and aerial drone-photography are coupled with geoarchaeological investigations and archaeological surveys.
In their research, the scientists are faced with a special challenge: due to the tides, the sea reveals the seafloor only for a few hours a day.
Archaeo:lab – introducing archaeological research to schoolchildren
How can we raise children’s interest in archaeological research? At the archaeo:lab, which is part of the school lab of Kiel University, we offer children the opportunity to work as archaeologists for an entire day filled with hands-on practice.
The film accompanies a school class visiting the archaeo:lab in order to explore the aspects of life in the Neolithic. First, they will map the outline of a Neolithic house printed, true to scale, on a large tarpaulin and interpret it. Then, they will sift through samples from an excavated fireplace for the remains of foodstuffs and identify what people ate in the past. Finally, they will detect different plant species by using microscopic pollen samples to get an idea of what the landscape looked like in the Neolithic.
The scientific methods that the students are introduced to are as close to reality as possible and they will learn to distinguish between facts and possible interpretations of their findings. In the end, they will have a better idea of what life in the Neolithic might have been like.
Haithabu and Danewerk: UNESCO world cultural heritage
The significant Viking Age sea trading venue Haithabu and the Danewerk border building are located at a historic narrow passage between the Schlei, a Baltic Sea estuary, and the North Sea lowlands, close to the Danish border in the very north of Germany. Between the 8th and the 11th centuries, the sites were located in the centre of the trading networks between North and West Europe, forming the core between Scandinavia and continental Europe.
During the entire Viking period, Haithabu was one of the largest and most important trading towns. In the 10th century, it was incorporated into the Danewerk defence system, which controlled the border country and the narrow land bridge between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The film offers a glimpse into the Viking Museum Haithabu with jewellery and weapons from richly equipped tombs and other exciting findings witnessing local arts, crafts and trade. The film will show you the reconstructed Viking settlement on the historic grounds and tell you about heritage management, conservation strategies, and knowledge transfer.