Description

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Working and reference area of the project with indication of the currently known repositories of the archaeological finds and archival materials from the former Prussia Museum in Königsberg, East Prussia. © Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Schleswig. Graphic: T. Ibsen, Schleswig.

The reciprocal pair of words "Continuity of Research and Research of Continuity" in the project title outlines the essential opportunities and difficulties of the history of archaeology in the extremely find-rich landscapes on the southern Baltic coast. This history is as rich in tradition as it is problematic and significant for the development of northern and eastern Europe. This is especially true for the former East Prussia, i.e. today's Kaliningrad region of Russia, northern Poland and south-western Lithuania.

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Archival material from the former Prussia Museum in Königsberg, East Prussia, as it was recovered in 1990. © Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - PK. Photo: T. Ibsen, Schleswig.

On the one hand, "Continuity of Research" in the title refers to the rich source base compiled by researchers from several countries over one and a half centuries. Its central element - the former Königsberg Prussia collection and regional smaller pre-war holdings - seemed to have been lost for a long time due to the events of the war and subsequent political circumstances. But at the beginning of the 1990s, large parts of the collections were rediscovered. Since then, they have been sorted and processed in years of painstaking work to such an extent that they are once again available to science as sources. It is precisely these archival records and findings that symbolise the long continuity of research interrupted by the Second World War, a continuity that is being restored and continued within the framework of the project in international cooperation.

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View of the mighty castle rampart of Apuolė, Lithuania, during a geophysical prospection. © Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Schleswig. Photo: T. Ibsen, Schleswig.

On the other hand, the project title "Research of Continuity" refers to the phenomenon of the remarkable settlement stability of the Baltic cultures. They survived the great migration movements of the Migration Period largely unchanged, or at least their archaeological legacies indicate this. Among the most striking monuments are the numerous castle ramparts, which lie in a dense network of neighbouring, mostly unexplored settlements and burial grounds.

The central concern of the project is the comprehensive investigation of an extremely complex settlement and cultural landscape in the first post-Christian millennium on the southern Baltic coast. All available archival records and finds from the old excavations will be evaluated. At the same time, new research results will be incorporated and the standard interdisciplinary canon of methods available today will be exhausted.

The common cultural heritage of the region is being developed and secured in many ways. The results are brought together in an archaeological atlas. In addition, an online portal documents the source material in digital form. The results of individual investigations are continuously presented in a series of publications on the history of culture and settlement.

The concept was developed by the directors of the "Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie" in Schleswig, Professor Claus von Carnap-Bornheim, and the "Museums für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz", Professor Matthias Wemhoff. The planning was conducted in close cooperation with colleagues from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Germany. The total volume of the project is more than 6 million Euros for a period of 18 years, during which scientists, technical staff and doctoral students will research the archaeology of the Baltic States and East Prussia.

The project was launched on 1 January 2012.