Soil and Human Culture Dynamics During the Holocene Epoch

An International, Interdisciplinary Training and Research Program in Anthropology, Archaeology and Soil Science

Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Bruce R. James (Dept. of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland), Dr. Peter Kühn (Research Area Geography, University of Tübingen)

Contributors: Prof. Dr. Sean Downey (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Maryland), Prof. Dr. Thomas Scholten (Reasearch Area Geography, University of Tübingen), Priv.-Doz. Dr. Thomas Knopf (Institute of Pre- and Protohistory and Medieval Archaeology), Dr. Sandra Teuber (SFB 1070 ResourceCultures)

Funding Period September 1, 2015 – October 31, 2017

University of Tübingen (UT) and University of Maryland (UMD) Exchange Programme, funded by the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park and the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tübingen (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ZUK 63)

Focus of the Project

We will train graduate students to use the languages, methods, and theory in anthropology,
archaeology and soil science, to conduct interdisciplinary research on the interactions between soils
and human cultures during the Holocene, a time initiated by dramatic change in climate and natural
resource availability. This transition occurred after the continental glaciers retreated 10-12,000 years
ago in North America and Europe, and as agriculture gradually supplanted or complemented hunting,
gathering, and fishing as sources of food. The project will explicitly compare and contrast prehistoric
and historically known cultures, land use practices and soil knowledge from favorable and unfavorable
regions in southern Germany and northeastern United States, from the perspectives of anthropology,
archaeology and soil science. The graduate students and professors will explore how favorable and
unfavorable landscapes and soils may have been related to glacial history of the region (unglaciated,
glaciated, or periglacial).