Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology

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The Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology (ZIAGA) was a non-university research institute of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR . It existed from 1969 to 1992 and was based in Berlin .

The predecessors

Although there were courses in classical studies at various universities in the GDR , the universities, unlike today or in West Germany, were primarily intended to educate young scientists and only to a limited extent for research. The research was carried out primarily at the non-university institutions, especially in the Academy of Sciences of the GDR (until 1972 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin ). Lengthy research projects that had already been started by the Prussian Academy of Sciences were also continued here, such as the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum , the Inscriptiones Graecae , the Middle Latin Dictionary or the Prosopographia Imperii Romani .

These older projects came to the newly created Institute for Greco-Roman Antiquity in 1955 . Enterprises that had been idle for a long time - such as the Index Rerum Militarium , the Fronto and Strabon editions, the Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum , the Formae Orbis Antiqui , the Rhetores Graeci and the Vocabularium Iurisprudentiae Romanae - were not reopened. For this purpose, archaeological field research was started on what was once Greco-Roman soil. In 1958, the excavations at the late antique Limes fort Iatrus began in a German-Bulgarian joint effort . Johannes Irmscher was the director of the institute for many years . Another previous institution was the Institute for Prehistory and Early History under the direction of Karl-Heinz Otto . Also included were ancient orientalist work projects of the academy such as B. the Turfan texts .


In 1969, as part of an academy reform, the Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology (ZIAGA) was created under the leadership of the then 36-year-old, system-loyal prehistorian Joachim Herrmann . The three previously independent institutes, the Institute for Prehistory and Early History , the Institute for Orient Research and the Institute for Greco-Roman Antiquity, have been combined here. The new large institute was divided into four areas:

Although none of the traditional companies was closed, new priorities have now been set. Political guidelines for research goals became more ideological. The old projects were continued on a smaller scale, but the focus was on new prestige objects such as a “ History of the German People ”, the “ Romans on the Rhine and Danube ” and a two-volume “ Cultural History of Antiquity ”. These writings were mainly published in the series of publications of the Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR . Another problem for the research was that the majority of the employees were not so-called “ travel cadres ” and could therefore only travel to “friendly” foreign countries. The restrictive control and prohibition measures in relation to correspondence also did not serve to promote the company.

A large part of the scientific series and journals were also published within the framework of ZIAGA:

Most of the academy's employees were also involved in university teaching - especially at the Humboldt University in Berlin . The ZIAGA was housed in the old Prussian mansion at Leipziger Straße 3–4, today's Federal Council building . Ironically, after 1961, it was the last house before the border. In the building of the institute was also the seat of the National Committee of the Byzantinists , whose chairman was Johannes Irmscher.

In the course of the turnaround, the dissolution of the GDR and the integration into the scientific system of the Federal Republic of Germany , the existence of the ZIAGA ended with the end of the academy in 1992.

Important employees


  • The East Berlin “Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology” in the German unification process (1989-1992) . In: History in Science and Education . Volume 47, 1996, pp. 466-482
  • Eike Gringmuth-Dallmer : The Berlin Academy of Sciences and Medieval Archeology in the GDR . In: Mitt. AG Middle Ages . Volume 12, 2001, pp. 25-31 ( online )


  • Ordinance on the statute of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR of May 20, 1969