B 06

Humans and Resources in the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages. Anthropological and Bioarchaeological Analyses of the Use of Food Resources and the Detection of Migrations

Academic discipline


Physical Anthropology,

Economic History

Project management

Baten, Jörg, Prof. Dr.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Seminar

Abteilung für Wirtschaftsgeschichte

Mohlstraße 36

72074 Tübingen

telephone: +49 7071 29 72985

e-mail: joerg.baten[at]uni-tuebingen.de



Bartelheim, Martin, Prof. Dr.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters

Abteilung für Jüngere Urgeschichte und Frühgeschichte

Schloss Hohentübingen

Burgsteige 11

72070 Tübingen

telephone: 07071 29 72406

e-mail: martin.bartelheim[at]uni-tuebingen.de


Staecker, Jörn, Prof. Dr. †


Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters

Abteilung für Archäologie des Mittelalters


Wahl, Joachim, Prof. Dr.

Landesamt für Denkmalpflege im Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart

Arbeitsstelle Konstanz, Osteologie

Stromeyersdorfstraße 3

78467 Konstanz

telephone: +49 7531 9969950

e-mail: Joachim.Wahl[at]rps.bwl.de


und Postdocs

Maravall-Buckwalter, Laura, Dr.

SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen
Gartenstraße 29
Raum 311

72074 Tübingen

e-mail: laura.maravall-buckwalter[at]uni-tuebingen.de


Palmowski, Valerie, M.A.

SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen

Gartenstr. 29

70274 Tübingen

telephone: +49 7071 29 73589

e-mail: valerie.palmowski[at]uni-tuebingen.de


Toplak, Matthias S., Dr.

SFB 1070 RessourcenKulturen

Gartenstr. 29

72074 Tübingen

telephone: +49 7071 29 73589

e-mail: matthias-simon.toplak[at]uni-tuebingen.de

The importance of resources in history is reflected not only by the actions of humans but, even more directly, inside their bodies. Differences in the access to resources or their specific use may show direct evidence in the physical appearance and thus provide valuable individualised but generalizable information about the natural, economic and socio-cultural living conditions and thus allow insight into the interrelationship with cultural-historical dynamics. During the first phase of the project, Alamanic settlements in Baden-Württemberg were studied intensively. Using a selection of cemeteries from the 5th to 8th cent. AD as a base the region was analysed with regards to its natural and economic pre-conditions by Economic History, while anthropological and scientific methods were used to study gender, age, pathologies, nutrition (via isotopes) and assignments of function (via entheses) of human remains. A correlation with very few deviations between the construction of tombs/burial inventory and the state of health/nutrition was clearly visible. For example in the cemetery of Fridingen a correlation between single burials with rich inventory and isotope data indicating a protein rich diet could be established. A specific group of individuals had access to a different kind of nutrition and could afford elaborate burial constructions and the ‘destruction’ of objects by depositing them in graves. Thus, it is necessary to review the hypotheses recently put forward by post-processional archaeology. S. Brather and other archaeologists for example cautioned against a simple equation of grave construction and burial gifts with the living conditions or social status of the buried person. Instead, the project’s results indicate an interrelationship, which naturally has to be checked in each individual case. In particular, it will be interesting to examine whether the results, achieved for the Alamanic region, can be verified for other periods and places. The second phase of the project concentrates on the Viking period, especially in Scandinavia and what later became northern Germany, where a potential mobility of population groups can be expected during the time from the 8th to the 11th century AD. Cemeteries of the Viking period are investigated since more than 150 years from an archaeological point of view, but detailed anthropological and scientific analyses are lacking in most cases. With the exception of the cemeteries of Haithabu and Trelleborg there is scarcely systematic research applying scientific-archaeological methods. A special focus during this second project phase will be on the interaction of violence (as evidenced by cranial traumata and traces left by weapons), living conditions and culture-historical dynamics. Three regions will be scrutinised: 1) The cemeteries of Thumby-Bienebek and Kosel close to the trading post of Haithabu, in order to explore centre/periphery effects. 2) A number of cemeteries on the Danish island of Bornholm allow to study a possible contact of Scandinavian and Slavic populations. Here we will deal with the question whether a mobility of (Slavic) people can be verified or whether just foreign objects were deposited in the graves. If Slavic groups can be identified, their living conditions in comparison to the locals have to be researched and what kinds of ResourceCultures did emerge. 3) The island of Gotland played a significant role in the eastern part of the Baltic, still few data on mobility is available. The tombs from Kopparsvik and Slite contain several burials of individuals in face-down position, sometimes showing horizontally incised lines on their teeth. Our research will allow for completely new perspectives on the still controversial interpretation of these phenomena. In this way the project examines problems at the interface between archaeology, economic history and anthropology with an innovative approach. Three closely related issues are dealt with: 1) The migrations within the eastern Baltic allow to study especially interesting aspects of resource use and their effect on the immigrants. The skeletons of selected individuals are examined by Strontium-Isotope Analysis to determine their origin. 2) The interaction between rule, social inequality and adaption of use is an interesting subject. 3) The consideration of the interaction of violence experience and cultural-historical developments in this specific period and region is an intriguing subject, since Early Medieval Scandinavia has a reputation for a high propensity to violence.