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In geoarchaeology , archaeological questions are investigated using geoscientific methods . The focus is on the reconstruction of historical and prehistoric landscapes with sediment investigations , soil geographic investigations and raw material analyzes. There are disciplinary links in particular to geography (especially geomorphology , soil geography and settlement geography ) and geology .

Development history

Following earlier approaches in the USA, geoarchaeology is currently establishing itself as a separate, methodically oriented subject within geography and archeology. There are already several geoarchaeological master’s courses at geographic institutes in Germany. In the background there is increasing research in the field of settlement archeology or landscape archeology since the late 1980s, which has shown a need for methodically specialized experts.

Focus of work

The areas of application of geoarchaeology are numerous. The focus is on working with Holocene sediments, etc. a. Colluvia , floodplain , lake sediments and partly marine sediments that were deposited under the influence of humans. Frequently used methods are pollen analysis and geophysical investigations, such as geoelectrics and georadar . Determining the origin of rocks is also widespread, e.g. B. Obsidian . In addition to classic methods such as thin-section examinations , complex geochemical analyzes may also be required in order to be able to reliably isolate the origin of a rock. Geomorphological or soil geographic processes can play an essential role in the interpretation of archaeological objects, as they have a lasting effect on the preservation and chances of finding them. Soil studies also offer important starting points for the reconstruction of earlier landscapes, in that on the one hand potential uses of the past can be analyzed and, on the other hand, topographical changes, such as the flooding of valleys or the silting up of lakes, can be recorded more closely. Increasingly, there is also talk of an archaeogeography , which should close the gap between paleogeography and historical geography , and examine prehistoric landscapes as an expression of the prehistoric human-environment relationship since the appearance of humans.

Research organization

The Geoarchaeology Working Group has also existed since 2004 , in which geographers and archaeologists alike exchange and work together.


  • R. Bonn: Who or what are geoarchaeologists and what is geoarchaeology? In: Adventure archeology. No. 8, 2007, pp. 32-37 ISSN  1615-7125
  • H. Brückner, A. Vött: Geoarchaeology - an interdisciplinary science par excellence. In: E. Kulke, H. Popp (Ed.): Dealing with risks, disasters, destabilization, security. German Geographers' Day, Bayreuth 2007, pp. 181–202.
  • Geographical survey. Volume 58, No. 4, 2006, ISSN  0016-7460 : The focus of this edition is geoarchaeology
  • Wernerrautel: Introduction to the geo-archeology of the Middle East. Reichert, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-89500-374-3 .
  • George R. Rapp, Christopher L. Hill: Geoarchaeology - the earth-science approach to archaeological interpretation. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven 1998, ISBN 0-300-07076-4 .
  • Ervan G. Garrison: Techniques in archaeological geology. Springer, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-540-43822-X .
  • WJ MacGuire: The archeology of geological catastrophes. Geological Society, London 2000, ISBN 1-86239-062-2 .
  • Paul Goldberg, Richard Macphail: Practical and theoretical geoarchaeology. Blackwell, Malden 2006, ISBN 0-632-06044-1 .
  • Eberhard Zangger: Geoarchäologie In: Man and landscape in antiquity. Lexicon of historical geography. JB Metzler Verlag Stuttgart, 1999, pp. 166-169, ISBN 3-476-01285-9
  • Eberhard Zangger, Horst Leiermann, Wolfgang Noack and Falko Kuhnke: A 21st Century Approach to the Reconnaissance and Reconstruction of Archaeological Landscapes. In: Aegean Strategies. Studies of Culture and Environment on the European Fringe . Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, 1997, pp. 9-31, ISBN 0-8476-8656-6
  • Eberhard Zangger: The most spectacular successes in archeology today come from the natural sciences. Geoarchaeologists research the engineering achievements of the past. "water, energy, air - eau, energy, air". 93rd year, 2001, issue 9/10, CH-5401 Baden
  • Thorsten Mattern, Andreas Vött: Man and the Environment in the Mirror of Time: Aspects of Geoarchaeological Research in the Eastern Mediterranean . Harrassowitz. Wiesbaden, 2009, ISBN 978-3-447-05877-3 (paper)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Master of Science Geoarchaeology from the University of Marburg
  2. M. Leopold, J. Völkel: Colluvium: definition, differentiation and their possible suitability to reconstruct Holocene climate data. In: Quaternary International. 162-163, 2007, pp. 133-140.
  3. C. Stolz, J. Grunert, A. Fülling: The formation of alluvial fans and young floodplain deposits in the Lieser catchment, Eifel Mts., Western German Uplands: A study of soil erosion budgeting. In: The Holocene. 22, 3, 2012, pp. 267-280.
  4. S. Dreibrodt, H.-R. Bork: Lake Secrets: the history book under the Belauer See (Schleswig-Holstein). In: H.-R. Bork: Landscapes of the earth under the influence of humans. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2006, pp. 121–128.
  5. A. Vött, SM May: On the trail of tsunamis in the eastern Mediterranean. In: Geographical Rundschau. 12, 2009, pp. 42-48.
  6. ^ J. Völkel, M. Leopold, B. Weber: New findings on landscape development in the Lower Bavarian Danube region during the turn of the ages (Celtic oppidum from Manching and Viereckschanze von Poign near Bad Abbach). In: Z. Geomorph. NF Suppl. Volume 128, 2002, pp. 47-66.