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Classical Archaeology

Classical Archaeology is concerned with the ancient cultures of the mediterranean and the region of the Black Sea. The chronological frame starts with the Aegean Bronze Age (from ca. 3200 BC) and continues into the Early Middle Ages (ca. 500-800 AD). The investigation on material remains of the Greek and Roman cultures is the main focus. Other cultures that were in contact with the Graeco-Roman world, are also taken into account (i. e. Phoenicians, Etruscans, Scythians).

It is to be understood as a discipline of cultural history that uses material remains as a source. Archaeological artifacts are considered to be historical sources and are the base for various theories in cultural history. Working from this base, the natural living environment of early societies and their individuals are reconstructed, questions on their mentality, their values and cultural identities are posed. On this, archaeology works closely with other disciplines of Classical Studies, Social- and Natural Sciences. Topological focuses are settlement geography, urbanism, architecture, art (sculpture, painting, pottery, toreutic), religion, funerary practices, trade and economy, social and military history, as well as the daily life.

Methodologically, Classical Archaeology uses a broad palette of tools. First, the archaeological artifacts are to be identified and the date and place of production established. Aside from methods of comparison (i. e. by style, typology, iconography), scientific means (Archaeometry) are used. In urbanism and architecture methods from building research (analysis of the existing structures, surveying) are also employed. On that basis, questions on the contractor, the intention and cultural context of the objects are also raised. The students are given competences to analyze and process the material remains (finds and structures) and the graphic documents as historical sources. 
Field archaeological methods are an important mean of investigation, although destruction free methods are increasing in use next to traditional excavations (aerial imaging, geophysical prospections, surveys, etc.). Working with databases, statistics, CAD-based reconstruction methods and geographic information systems (GIS) are gaining significance. Here, archaeology is closely connected to disciplines of natural sciences.