Welcome at the Centre for Eastern Mediterranean History and Culture (GKM)

The Centre for Eastern Mediterranean History and Culture (GKM) brings together all ancient studies at the University of Münster. Among the disciplines involved, the multitude of ancient philologies, archaeologies as well as Christian and Islamic theology and Jewish studies are particularly noteworthy.
The GKM is the backbone of the Cluster of Excellence "Religion and Politics", which is now in its third funding phase.
With the interdisciplinary Master's programme "Ancient Cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean (AKOEM)" and the graduate school "Münster School of Ancient Cultures (MSAC)", the network is also activated for academic education.

NEWS I Mai 2023
© WWU_Moustakis

Apply for the Winter Semester 2023/24

The application portal for the Master's program "Ancient Cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean" is now open. Until July 15, you can apply there for the winter semester 2023/24.

NEWS I Sonntagsvorträge im Archäologischen Museum
| NEWS I Mai 2023
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Antikensammlung / Ingrid Geske

Sunday Lectures at the Archaeological Museum

"Transparent robes"
In the middle of the 4th century, a new type of fabric began to be produced on the island of Kos off the coast of present-day Turkey. Originally from Assyria, this yellowish fabric was so finely woven that it was transparent or translucent. During the Hellenistic period, the depiction of this silk became widespread in sculptural works of art such as statues and terracottas. The difficulty and skill here consisted of the challenge of depicting a translucent fabric in an opaque medium.

The Sunday lectures will take place on 6 and 13 May 2023 in F33 of the Fürstenberghaus (Domplatz 20-22). They will begin at 2.15 p.m. each time.

NEWS: April 2023
© © picture alliance - AA, Mahmoud Hjaj

Archaeologist Angelika Lohwasser and her team leave Sudan shortly before fighting breaks out

In Sudan, the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces are fighting for power. Archaeologist Prof. Dr. Angelika Lohwasser has been working on a field research project in northern Sudan since 2009. Most recently, she and her team were on the ground for two months in February. In this interview, Angelika Lohwasser reports on the consequences of the conflict for her work.

NEWS: April 2023
NEWS: April 2023
This column on the Karakuş burial mound, where members of the Commagenian royal family were buried in the late 1st century BC, toppled over during the earthquake. Just one example of many.
© Forschungsstelle Asia Minor- Mehmet Alkan

The photos of the severe earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on 6 February are shocking. The extent of the devastation can still not be seen after a good two months. Thousands of people have lost their lives. In view of the acute humanitarian catastrophe, questions of cultural property protection have so far taken a back seat. It is already clear that the tremors have caused considerable damage to numerous ancient and medieval monuments. With the project "Cultural Heritage in Danger", researchers from the Asia Minor Research Centre want to support the local authorities in documenting the condition of the cultural monuments in the province of Adıyaman.

The project, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, will start at the beginning of June and run for seven months.

NEWS I April 2023
© WWU - Forschungsstelle Papyrologie

Tandem lecture of the Research Unit for Letters and the Research Unit for Papyrology

Two researchers will speak on Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m. c.t. at the invitation of the Forschungsstelle Papyrologie and the Forschungsstelle Brief on one topic. Prof. Dr. Peter Arzt-Grabner (Salzburg) & PD Dr. Hans Förster (Vienna) will shed light on the topic "Papyrological Research on the Pauline Epistles using Paul's Letter to the Romans as an example".
Location: ETH 302, Universitätsstraße 13-17

NEWS : April 2023
© Institut für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft / Natalie Kraneiß

Funding in the millions for an Arab classic

For the second time, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is supporting the long-term project to edit the complete works of Ibn Nubatah al-Misri (1287-1366). At the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Arabists led by Leibniz Prize winner Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer and Prof. Dr. Syrinx von Hees have been working on the edition since 2020. The DFG is now funding the project again with around 1.7 million euros.


New Episode

One year of "News from the Old World"! For the anniversary episode of our podcast, we brought together (almost) the entire team: Natalie, Franzi, Lotta, Emre and Felix reflect on the creation and production of the podcast. From technical difficulties to the choice of interviewees to experiences abroad, our team looks back on the last year and gives a little insight behind the recordings.

NEWS I 03.04.2023
© WWU - Robert Matzke

New Research Group "Xenocracy"

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a new research group from the humanities. The aim of the group "Xenocracy on the Ground. Administration and Cultural Interdependence in the Pre-Modern Era" is to provide a perspective on the much-discussed phenomenon of foreign rule that is tailored to the pre-modern era. The DFG is funding the project for the next four years with approximately 2.5 million euros. From the GKM, Prof. Dr. Hans Beck, Prof. Dr. Patrick Sänger and Prof. Dr. Gesa Schenke are involved.

NEWS I 03.04.2023
© QS

Good Ranking for "Classics and Ancient History"

In the current "QS World University Ranking by Subject 2023", Classics and Ancient History once again achieved a good ranking. In the subject "Classics and Ancient History", the University of Münster is ranked 51 to 90 and thus among the world's best 100 universities. The ranking is based primarily on reputation surveys among academics and employers and takes into account citations of publications.

NEWS I 20. März 2023
© Peter Funke

Podcast with Ancient Historian Peter Funke

Amnesties - an ancient idea?
Lotta and Emre are talking to the senior professor Dr. Peter Funke from Münster. They discuss concepts for overcoming violence in ancient societies with the ancient historian.
In addition, the busy scholar tells them how the University of Cyprus was founded, how our study program AKOEM came about, or how e-learning was already implemented in ancient history 25 years ago.

The GKM mourns the death of Prof. Dr Karl-Friedrich Pohlmann

born on 12 January 1941 in Korbach
died on 14 February 2023 in Münster

Karl-Friedrich Pohlmann was appointed Professor of Old Testament at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Münster in 1981, where he taught until his retirement in 2006.
The Old Testament scholar was already involved in SFB 493 "Functions of Religion in Ancient Societies of the Near East". In the sub-project "Figures of identification and mediators in times of crisis", he dealt in particular with the figure of the prophet Jeremiah. Mr Pohlmann is one of the founding members of the GKM. Inspired by recent developments in the discourse on religion and politics and the establishment of a Centre for Islamic Theology at the University of Münster, Mr Pohlmann turned to the exegesis of the Koran after his retirement and proved in two fundamental works that the method of historical-critical exegesis, as developed in biblical studies, can also be productively and profitably applied to the analysis of the holy scriptures of Islam.

© WWU - Sophie Pieper

WWU-Podcast: Tutankhamun

Egyptologist Prof. Dr Angelika Lohwasser talks about the opening of Tutankhamun's burial chamber 100 years ago: a century-old find that still poses many riddles, and a myth associated with it that still fascinates today.  The conversation is also about the subject of Egyptology in general and about studying Egyptology. 

© EViR/Archaeological Museum Thebes

"Ancient Greek Law"

In view of more than 1000 poleis, can a uniform Greek law be assumed at all?

On 23 and 24 February 2023, an international symposium will explore this question and analyse the tension between local law and legal unity in ancient Greece.

NEWS I 09.02.2023
© WWU-Forschungsstelle Asia Minor

Archaeologists on Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

Since 1997, the WWU research centre Asia Minor has been investigating the remains of the ancient city of Doliche near the Turkish metropolis of Gaziantep. The excavation area of the research project and the excavation house, are located only a few kilometres away from the epicentre of the severe earthquakes that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday (6.2.2023). Sophie Pieper spoke with project leader Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter and excavation director Prof. Dr. Michael Blömer about the situation on site ... read more [de]

NEW I 03.02.2023
© WWU - Dyma

Professor Lutz Doering elected as new GKM spokesperson

A new board was elected at the general meeting on 2 February. Subsequently, the board elected Prof. Dr. Lutz Doering as spokesperson of the GKM without any dissenting votes.
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Achenbach left the board at his own request after 13 years. He had shaped the research and teaching network as spokesperson since 2009. He was bid farewell with heartfelt words of thanks, a big round of applause and a short review of the history of the GKM.

Spring School 2023 "Manuscript Cultures. Interdisciplinary. Digital. "

© CSMC_Hamburg

From 27 to 31 March 2023, the GKM will organise the Spring School "Manuscript Cultures. Interdisciplinary. Digital."  

We will approach historical manuscripts in two ways: on the one hand, in terms of content via the topics of power, ritual and space; on the other hand, methodically by learning and applying methods of the Digital Humanities. Together with the participants, we will edit a previously unpublished chronicle of the Vinneberg monastery.

During the one-day excursion to the University of Hamburg, we will be guided through the laboratories of the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures and can experience how the humanities and natural sciences work hand in hand.

We are offering 20 places for students, doctoral candidates and staff of the WWU. In the meantime, all places are fully booked.

NEWS: December 2022
NEWS: December 2022

WWU-Press Office Visits the Excavation in Doliche

© WWU_Pieper

The University of Münster has been excavating in Doliche for more than 25 years now. Every summer, a group of archaeologists from the Asia Minor Research Centre travels to this site in south-eastern Turkey to uncover the ancient city and the nearby sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus. With impressive results!
This year, Sophie Pieper from the Communications and Public Relations Office observed the excavation during a site visit. She reports on a typical working day in the November/December issue of the university newspaper "wissen.leben".

© WWU_Moustakis

Lecture Series "Cultural Heritage"

The network "Archäologie Diagonal" invites all interested parties to the lecture series "Cultural Heritage. Challenges of Global Cultural Preservation". The lectures take place on Mondays at 6.15 p.m. in lecture theatre F2 in the Fürstenberghaus, Domplatz 20-22, and can also be followed online via Zoom. The event begins on 24 October.

© EViR

Hans Beck New Fellow at the "Käthe Hamburger Kolleg"

The ancient historian Prof. Dr. Hans Beck is a new fellow at the Käthe Hamburger Kolleg. During the winter semester, he will be researching political orders in ancient Greece.
The fellows of the Kolleg give insights into their research projects in the public "Fellow Lectures".  Hans Beck will speak on 17 November (6 p.m. in the Philosophicum).

© WWU - Michael Möller

Rediscovering Ancient Egypt

At the beginning of 2022, Dr. Patrick Sänger, Professor of Ancient History, founded the Papyrology Research Centre. The institution, which is dedicated to strengthening papyrology, networking with other scholars and institutions as well as training young scholars, will be officially opened in a ceremony on 21 October in the Fürstenberghaus.

© Wikimedia, CC, Roland Unger

Milestones in Egyptology

In 2022, the subject of Egyptology celebrates a double anniversary: in 1822, Egyptian hieroglyphs were successfully deciphered and in 1922, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. This was the occasion to work with students to present information on these "great moments" in the form of a poster exhibition. The exhibition can be seen in the foyer of the studio stage (Domplatz 23) until 27 October.

The 2022 fieldwork campaigns of the Münster archaeologists


Now, during the lecture-free period, the excavations in Armenia, Bulgaria, Israel, Iraq and Turkey will continue. A new field research project will start in Sparta (Greece).

Students will also go along again this summer and expand their knowledge through practical experience. And the mobile 3D scanner will also be in the luggage.

We will present the projects and expectations in our report "Field Research 2022" from the end of August.


Sustainability from the perspective of archaeology

In the current ZIN blog post, archaeologist Achim Lichtenberger presents conditions for resilience in cities and shows how helpful a look at history is for this. Since 2011, an international team led by the universities of Aarhus and Münster has been investigating the ancient city of Gerasa (Jordan), which met its end in 749 AD - after a long period of resilience - due to an earthquake

Tell Iztabba Excavation
© German-Israeli Tell Iztabba Excavation Project

New analytical methods optimize dating of archaeological finds

The combined analysis of animal and plant remains as well as literary evidence is leading to more precise dating of archaeological finds. "We can now often determine not only the year, but also the season," says archaeologist Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger, who is currently digging with his team at Tell Iztabba (Israel)


EXC video "Introduction to Digital Humanities" online [de]

How does ... Digital Humanities? In the lecture series "Introduction to the Digital Humanities" of the Cluster of Excellence, experts from various disciplines addressed this question in the summer semester of 2022. In addition to methods, tools and projects, the responsible use of research data was also addressed.
The videos are posted on the Cluster of Excellence website and can be viewed here.


EXC-Video "Tradition and Competition" online [de]

Who decides what is tradition and what is handed down? Which factors are decisive in the struggle for interpretive sovereignty? This was discussed on 24 May 2022 by the historians Peter Funke (Ancient History), Wolfram Drews (Medieval History) and Hubert Wolf (Church History) in the discussion series "Traditions and Competition" of the Cluster of Excellence. Their introductory statements and a complete recording of the talk can be viewed here [de].

NEWS: July 2022
© Habelt-Verlag

"Asia Minor Studien" celebrate the publication of the 100th volume

The Asia Minor Studies, the scientific publication series of the Forschungssstelle Asia Minor (Research Centre Asia Minor), have been published at irregular intervals by Habelt-Verlag since 1990. The topics include projects of the Research Centre and selected works on ancient Asia Minor.
Now volume 100, entitled "Regional Relations. A History of the Poliscape of Southwestern Asia Minor in the Early and High Hellenistic Periods on the Basis of its Inter-local Connections" has been published.

The publication of the 100th volume was also a reason to celebrate: Prof. Dr. Christof Schuler (Munich) gave a lecture on 7 July on the topic "Lycia between Civil War and Principate. Two new inscriptions from Patara and the regional consequences of an imperial crisis".

NEWS: Juni 2022

Michael Grünbart receives "Vasso Penna Award 2022"

© WWU_Grünbart

Professor Dr Michael Grünbart has been awarded the "Vasso Penna Award 2022" of the Christian Archaeological Society.

The prize was awarded to the Byzantinist for his monograph "Power and Presence of Letters in Byzantine Everyday Life. Approaches to the Ancillary Historical Sciences of the Eastern Mediterranean" at the annual meeting in Athens on 28 May.

We offer our warmest congratulations!

NEWS: MAY 2022
NEWS: MAY 2022

Arabist Prof. Dr. SARAH STROUMSA is new Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor at the Cluster of Excellence

© Privat

The Israeli Arabist Sarah Stroumsa is Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor at the Cluster of Excellence "Religion and Politics" in the summer semester 2022.

Sarah Stroumsa has produced numerous significant and widely received publications on the history of philosophical and theological thought in the Islamic world of the Middle Ages, as well as on philosophical literature in the Jewish-Arab context. Her publications include Maimonides in his World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker (Princeton 2010) and Andalus and Sefarad: On Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain (Princeton 2019).

During her stay at the Cluster of Excellence, Professor Stroumsa will present her methodological approaches to the study of the history of ideas in the Arab Middle Ages. A public evening lecture is planned as well as a masterclass in which the visiting professor will discuss her approaches with the junior researchers of the Cluster of Excellence.

Public evening lecture "Between Traditions: Philosophical Traditions in the Islamicate World and Scholarly Traditions in Their Study" I 17.05.2022 | 18.15 h | Lecture Hall JO 1, Johannisstraße 4, and via Zoom (after registration)

Masterclass "The Voice of Written Texts: On the Reconstruction of Intellectual History of the Islamicate World" I 18.05.2022 | 9.00 a.m. | Lecture Hall JO 1, Johannisstraße 4

NEWS: April 2022
NEWS: April 2022

Podcast "News from the Old World" launched


At the beginning of the summer semester, our podcast on the ancient Mediterranean starts. It starts on 18 April! In the podcast "News from the Ancient World", current research will be discussed from now on.

The idea came about as part of the AKOEM Master's programme. In a relaxed atmosphere, academics will present their projects, give one or two tips on their studies and sometimes even chat informally. Dr. Nikola Moustakis has accompanied the students in this interdisciplinary project on science communication for almost a year now - from the first information on the technical equipment, to thoughts on the name and logo, to the first interviews - and is pleased that the first episode has now been published.

NEWS: March 2022
NEWS: March 2022

Junior professorship in "Biblical Archaeology"

In the Faculty of Protestant Theology at University Münster, together with the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in conjunction with the German Protestant Institute for the Study of Antiquity in the Holy Land (DEI), there is a vacancy for a W1 Junior Professorship in Biblical Archaeology (with tenure track to W2) to be filled as soon as possible.

The duties include research and teaching in the field of Biblical Archaeology at the WWU Münster. The post holder participates in formats of collaborative research at the DAI in the mediation of university and non-university archaeological research; she/he participates in existing teaching, research and cultural property protection projects of the DEI in Israel, in the Palestinian territories and/or Jordan and/or initiates new third-party funded projects in the research area of the DEI in agreement with the DEI.

At EMU, active participation in the Faculty of Protestant Theology, in projects within the framework of the "Centre for the History and Culture of the Eastern Mediterranean" (GKM), with the association of archaeological subjects (Archäologie Diagonal) and in other interdisciplinary research associations of the university is expected.

NEWS: March 2022
NEWS: March 2022

Four GKM members with new projects in the Cluster of Excellence

Several research projects successful in the ideas competition
© exc

The Cluster of Excellence "Religion and Politics" has expanded its research programme with new projects. Four professors from the GKM have been accepted as part of an ideas competition to establish new research projects.

The projects and researchers in detail:

The Old Testament scholar Prof. Dr. Christophe Nihan is working on the emergence and transformations of concepts of purity in Judaism of the Persian and Hellenistic periods in the ancient Mediterranean region.

Under the title Cosmocracy and Pantocracy in Early Christianity (KoPaC), the New Testament scholar Prof. Dr. Eve-Marie Becker is dedicated to the roots, functions and effects of the early Christian presentation of power.

Coptologist Prof. Dr. Gesa Schenke is researching the lived and handed-down religiosity in the Coptic tradition of the Testament of Abraham according to original codices of the 4th and 10th centuries under the title "Abraham in Everyday Life".

The Arabist Prof. Dr. Syrinx von Hees deals with political dimensions of a controversial literary-religious discourse around the transformations of the Burda in the 13th-15th centuries.

NEWS: February 2022
NEWS: February 2022

CfP: Bridges in Antiquity

International Workshop for Young Researchers from 29 to 30 July 2022

From 29 to 30 July 2022, the workshop "Bridges in Antiquity" will take place within the framework of the Münster School of Ancient Cultures (MSAC). This event is aimed at young researchers whose work is situated in the field of ancient studies and deals with bridges or other crossings over natural obstacles. English presentations of max. 20 minutes are expected. The CfP is now closed. In the next few weeks, the programme will be compiled and posted here at the beginning of the summer semester.

NEWS: Januar 2022

Exploring the Ancient City of Doliche

A podcast with Prof. Dr Engelbert Winter
© WWU - Sophie Pieper

For 25 years, Prof. Dr Engelbert Winter and his team have been researching the ancient city of Doliche in south-eastern Turkey near the Syrian border. The excavation of the Asia Minor Research Centre is one of the longest projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).  "The location of the city is a stroke of luck for archaeological research. The city hill was abandoned in the 12th century and has not been built on since. Most other cities in the ancient part of Syria are no longer eligible for excavations because they were either built on afterwards or destroyed by the Syrian civil war," the antiquities scholar reports. In the podcast, Engelbert Winter reports on the beginnings of the project and its development up to the present day. For example, he talks about everyday life during the field research, which lasted several weeks, about the question of how modern technology has changed archaeological research and about the cooperation with the local Turkish forces and the government.

NEWS: November 2021

Excavation expedition in north-east Iraq

First impressions and results
Excavation in the Zagros Mountains: the international and interdisciplinary excavation team in front of the excavation area. In the background the hill Qalat-i Dinka.
© Rohde_Peshdar Plain Project

A team led by Prof. Dr. Janoscha Kreppner from the Institute of Ancient Oriental Studies and Near Eastern Archaeology at WWU Münster started a new research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with an excavation in north-eastern Iraq during the lecture-free period until October. Students were also part of the team and were able to gain practical experience in archaeological field research.

In the Peshdar Plain of the Zagros Mountains in the Iraqi Autonomous Region of Kurdistan on the border to Iran, a 60-hectare Iron Age settlement is being investigated, the "Dinka Settlement Complex". The plain was integrated into the Assyrian empire in the 9th century BC as part of a newly created border marker to protect against threats from the east. The new excavations shed light on the hitherto little-known lifeworlds and material culture of the indigenous local society of the Zagros Mountains before the Assyrian annexation. The target of the excavation was one of three buildings that clearly stood out in size from ordinary dwellings and were therefore central to the lower town.

The expedition showed that important insights into the indigenous culture at the interface between the Mesopotamian cultures of the Assyrians and Babylonians in Iraq, on the one hand, and the Median and Achaemenian cultures in Iran, on the other, can be gained in the archaeologically poorly researched Iraq-Iran border region. A publication is in preparation.

NEWS: November 2021

Roman aqueduct discovered in Armenia

A testimony to the failed imperialism of the Roman Empire?
The excavation section shows a pillar of the unfinished aqueduct.

Archaeologists from the University of Münster and the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia have apparently found the remains of the easternmost arched aqueduct of the Roman Empire during excavations in the Hellenistic royal city of Artaxata in ancient Armenia. An evaluation of the finds already uncovered in 2019 has now been published in the specialist journal "Archäologischer Anzeiger".

The publication makes clear that the monumental foundations are part of an unfinished aqueduct bridge built by the Roman army between 114 and 117 AD. At that time, Artaxata was to become the capital of a Roman province in Armenia. However, the structure remained unfinished because after Trajan's death in 117 AD, his successor Hadrian gave up the province of Armenia before the aqueduct was completed. Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger and Dr. Torben Schreiber from the Institute for Classical and Christian Archaeology at the WWU put forward the thesis that the find is a testimony to the failed imperialism of the Roman Empire.

NEWS: November 2021

Mummy returns to the Archaeological Museum

Again in Münster from 9 November
Egyptian sarcophagus lid in the WWU Archaeological Museum
© WWU_Dilka

The "Münster Mummy", who has also starred in the crime scene, has now returned to Münster from its long journey to Japan.

The museum had already received the mummy on permanent loan from the Karl Ziegler Grammar School in Mülheim an der Ruhr in 1978. Due to its poor condition, it initially lay dormant in the depot for almost 40 years before its first appearance in Münster. For about two years, it was now on tour with a travelling exhibition in six Japanese cities. From 9 November, the richly decorated ancient Egyptian wooden coffin from around 950-890 B.C. with the mummy of a young man (ca. 750-580 B.C.) can be seen again in the Fürstenberghaus - as part of the permanent exhibition in a specially made display case. The museum at Domplatz 20-22 is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, every second Friday of the month until midnight. Admission is free.

A new brochure "Egyptian Mummies between the Rhine and the Ems - Souvenir and Sensation" by Prof. Dr. Angelika Lohwasser and Lena Rauße from the Institute of Egyptology and Coptology at the WWU was published simultaneously in the museum's series of publications. The publication offers insights into current research and documents the reasons why people of all times have been interested in mummies.

© WWU_Grünbart
© WWU-Forschungsstelle Asia Minor

At the Archaeological Museum of the University of Münster, virtual copies are created with the help of a 3D scanner. The scanned objects can be used by experts all over the world. The first vessels, coins, casts and stone fragments have already been recorded. They can now be digitally rotated as desired and viewed from all sides, thus providing far more information than the originals. An EMU image film provides an insight into the newly equipped 3D laboratory of the Archaeological Museum.
The 3D laboratory is located on the ground floor of the Archaeological Museum. Interested visitors can watch the students at work through a glass pane.
Have fun watching the film ... or just come and visit the 3D lab at Münster-Domplatz in person.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

NEWS: August 2021

tudents bring ancient rooms to life with VR glasses

© WWU_Kreppner

3D technology has become increasingly popular for archaeology in recent years. In order to introduce our students to this development, the course "Modelling of Virtual Reconstructions in Archaeology" was already started in the winter semester 2020/21 on the initiative of Professor Kreppner. First, the theories and methods of scientific archaeological reconstruction were taught. Then Sebastian Hageneuer from the University of Cologne introduced the use of the modelling software Cinema 4D. The second part of the seminar took place in the form of group projects in which the participants developed and implemented their own ideas. At the beginning of August, the results could be experienced. In the Senate Hall of the University, the students used VR glasses to immerse themselves in the objects and rooms they had virtually reconstructed. They were thrilled to experience antiquity in this way.

NEWS: Juni 2021

Environmental pollution already in antiquity

Archaeological finds from the ancient city of Gerasa prove heavy metals in the ground
© © Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

According to recent research, environmental pollution is not a modern phenomenon. Even in ancient times, people suffered from lead poisoning, for example. The Romans used the heavy metal on a large scale as a material for water pipes and sometimes even to sweeten wine. Archaeologists and geologists from the universities of Münster, Aarhus, St. Andrews and Stirling have now discovered that many small amounts of the pollutant had already accumulated in the soil around medium-sized ancient cities over centuries. Although the environmental destruction did not yet occur on the same global scale as today, contaminated soil and polluted drinking water made people ill even back then.

Since 2011, a German-Danish team of the "Jerash Northwest Quarter Project" led by Achim Lichtenberger from Münster and Prof. Dr. Rubina Raja from Aarhus has been conducting research in the ancient city of Gerasa in what is now Jordan. Again and again, the researchers were amazed at the heavy metal contamination of the soil, because lead pipes were very rarely discovered in Gerasa, nor was there any metal industry or mining there. What is new in the archaeological research is that craft and everyday activities were taken into consideration, i.e. the smallest polluters. Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger from the Institute of Classical Archaeology puts it in a nutshell: "The principle that small flocks make a mess was already valid back then.  A study now shows that everyday activities such as the production and use of metal objects were responsible for the high levels of heavy metal pollution. It was not individual large-scale producers that caused this pollution, but numerous small-scale activities due to high population density and urbanisation.

"The contamination pathways reflect long-term man-made pollution at local and regional scales since Roman times," emphasise the authors of the study, which was published in June in the international online journal of the Public Library of Science "PLOS ONE". They call for the everyday urban use and reuse of heavy metal sources to be taken into account in future historical studies.

© WWU_Lianne Hecht

Small Disciplines - Great Potentials

The global world is changing rapidly and constantly. The high level of dynamism is a challenge that needs to be overcome. Armed conflicts, human rights violations and environmental pollution are only three of the social problems for which solutions are needed. The "small subjects" in the humanities make a contribution to this.
In the special exhibition "WeltWeit Unverzichtbar. Kleine Fächer für große Themen", the Archaeological Museum of Münster University showed from January to March 2020 how global phenomena can be better understood. In the meantime, this special exhibition has become a digital exhibition that is continuously being expanded.  

In 2021, the HRK and the BMBF invite you to a digital theme week Small Subjects, which will take place from 8 to 11 March. Its aim is to discuss the situation of small subjects and their development perspectives in the German and European science system with a broad professional public.

TOPIC: Digitisation at the University of Münster

Digitisation in the Ancient Studies Subjects

Documentation and analysis kits, multimedia reports and online learning platforms: Digital Humanities is a highly dynamic field of research for the Classical Studies that combines the cognitive interests of the humanities and cultural studies with the data-processing methods of computer science.
Digital working methods and techniques can considerably simplify and accelerate scientific work. This makes completely new questions possible.  Digital technologies are playing a steadily growing role in archaeology in particular, and are being used in projects at the University of Münster.
The digitisation of texts, the creation of complex digital editions and the production of corpora that can be analysed by machine are a basis for future-oriented research in the text sciences. Digital technology supports processes that previously had to be carried out in laborious manual work. Digitisation offers new possibilities for the presentation and publication of material, making research results more accessible, especially to the public.
These developments in research and teaching in Classics at the WWU aim to give students an understanding of digitality that will enable them to act in relation to new technologies and the associated changes in the humanities disciplines.