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Dr. Robert Schumann

Research Interests:

Social archaeology; Iron Age; Archaeological theory and method; Perceptions of the past; Memory in prehistory; Burial archaeology; Research history


Robert Schumann is post-doc at the University of Hamburg. His main research interests are the prehistoric Metal Ages, social archaeology, research history and the perception of the past in prehistoric times. Robert received his PhD from LMU Munich in 2014 with a thesis on social distinction in the early Iron Ages. He was post-doc in Munich and, before taking up his current position in Hamburg, conducted research projects on burial archaeology and the history of research for several museums in Austria and Germany. Furthermore, he started working on the perception of the past in later prehistoric Europe. He has also been a substitute Professor in Hamburg and short-term fellow at Topoi in Berlin.

Project Abstract

The past is of great significance, both for individuals and societies. Beside oral and written history, people always encountered relics of the past in material form and had to react to their specific implications. Ancient monuments perceivable on the surface and spare finds of older times do not only attract archaeologist but more generally fascinate. This is not only true for our modern societies but is testified for cultures all over the globe and way back into the prehistoric past. Communities in later prehistoric and early historic Europe interacted with different relics of the distant past they encountered, burial grounds and other monuments perceivable on the surface, ancient artefacts,

heirlooms, and simply a landscape, that was partly shaped by former human activities. These relics called for interpretation and appropriation that took place to a different extend in different times: Ancient mounds were reused as burial grounds or for other activities, ancient material culture circulated and was deposited and ancient practices were reestablished, to only quote some aspects of how the past was integrated. All these aspects offer insights into a topic, that is regularly discussed based on oral and written history in other disciplines. The sources left from prehistoric times call for a specific perspective on the past, that clearly complements other approaches.

In the research project "A diachronic perspective on perception and appropriation of the distant past in later prehistory and early history of Central Europe" I will investigate how cultural groups from the late Bronze Age to the early Medieval period perceived relics from the past, how they (re)used and appropriated these and what specific meaning the distant past had for these societies. Thereby, I combine a theoretical reflected approach with a classical empirical study completed with landscape archaeology.

Curriculum vitae

2014-2020: Research associate (post-doc) at the Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie, University of Hamburg

2018: Short term postdoctoral fellow at the excellence cluster Topoi, FU Berlin

2017: Substitute Professor (Wl) at Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie, University of Hamburg

2014: Post-doc at the Graduiertenkolleg "Formen von Prestige", LMU Munich

2014: Research associate at the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection, Munich

2014: PhD, LMU Munich

Selected Publications

Status und Prestige in der Hallstattkultur: Aspekte sozialer Distinktion in ältereisenzeitlichen Regionalgruppen zwischen Altmühl und Save. Münchner Archäologische Forschungen 3 (Verlag Marie Leidorf: Rahden/Westf. 2015).

Ein metallzeitlicher Siedlungsplatz bei Gilgenberg-Bierberg: Zur bronze- und eisenzeitlichen

Besiedlung im Bezirk Braunau am Inn (Oberösterreich). Fundberichte aus Österreich, Materialheft A23 (Verlag Berger: Wien 2016).

"The distant past of a distant past... Perception and appropriation of the distant past during the Iron Ages in northern Central Europe (Pre-Roman Iron Age, Roman Iron Age, Migration Period). In: E. Weiss-Krejci/S. Becker/Ph. Schwyzer (eds.), Deploying the dead. Explorations of Post-Funerary Agency (forthcoming 2020).

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