Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Department of Archaeology

Material culture and archaeology

"Material culture” refers to things that were produced by a human society or community, assigned a purpose, and used. They save information, almost always have a specific purpose, and embody the ideas, needs and values of the people who produced them. Many of these things “tell stories” - of people, events or of what was important to certain people. In other objects, messages are encoded, meaning that certain knowledge or skills are required to read and understand the meaning assigned to them.

In order to do justice to the diversity of possibilities and activities surrounding the theme of material culture, we pursue three concrete goals in our teaching: 1) Teaching theoretical, methodical, and empirical contents on the basis of selected subject areas in the material culture of Egypt and Sudan; 2) Archaeological training; 3) The development of competences in Egyptological and Sudan-archaeological museum and archive work, museology, and museum didactics.

In research, we are currently focussing on Egypt and Sudan (see the page on our research projects). In addition to archaeological fieldwork in the Musawwara es-Sufra in Sudan, we’ve been working since 2017 together with RPM Hildesheim in Pi-Ramesse in Egypt. One of our most interesting activities is the reconfiguration of the Sudan Archaeological Collection and the associated archive. A constant part of our work is supporting collaboration and exchange among the next generation of researchers. Every year we hold a three-day workshop on changing topics in cultural studies, whose results are published in the BAJA series.