The focus of SFB 1070 is the socio-cultural dynamics deriving from the use of resources. Resources are defined as the tangible and intangible means by which actors create, sustain or alter social relations, units or identities. This definition abolishes the opposition between natural and cultural resources because even raw materials extracted from nature are subject to cultural constructions. It is further assumed that resources are normally not used as individual elements, but as part of resource complexes which are often combinations of things, persons, knowledge and practices. Based on this approach, resource use here refers to the opening up and exploitation as well as the processing, distribution and utilization of socially relevant resource (complexes). It leads to certain dynamics, i.e. multidimensional processes of change, which may affect individual parts or even the whole of society. Three socio-cultural dynamics are the focus of the SFB: DEVELOPMENTS, MOVEMENTS and VALUATIONS. Resources, the use of resources, and the resulting dynamics strongly depend on cultural ideas and practices.
These cultural preconditions are variable and define what resources are and how they are used. Therefore, from a comparative perspective, we can identify different RESOURCE CULTURES. The main aims of the SFB are
These aims are to be achieved through close cooperation between archaeologies (Prehistoric Archaeology, Mediaeval Archaeology, Scientific Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, Near Eastern Archaeology, Biblical Archaeology), philologies (Classic Studies, Ancient Near Eastern Studies), historical sciences (Ancient History, Medieval History, Economic History), geography (Human Geography, Physical Geography and Pedology) and Social and Cultural Anthropology.