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Cultural Heritage

Germany is a country rich in archaeological treasures. Roman settlements in the Rhineland, princely mounds in the Lüneburg Heath, elaborate burial sites on the river Saale, Stone Age jewelry from the Swabian Alb and shipwrecks in the tidelands are all valuable testimonies to past cultures and lifestyles in the context of their finds. But this archaeological heritage is exposed to many threats.

Infrastructural measures, construction projects or modern forms of land and forest management may damage or irretrievably destroy archaeological culture assets. Floods and fires can also threat-en archival documents of human history that are already stored - presumably safely - in museums or archives.

Archaeological objects are repeatedly the target of probe runners and illegal excavations, even in Germany. In 2002, investigators succeeded in securing a circular bronze plate in Switzerland. Since then, the so-called “Nebra Sky Disk” illustrates just how detailed the knowledge of astronomy was four millennia ago. At the same time, chemical analyses show that trading in precious metals already existed throughout Europe at that time.

Archaeological structures and relics in the soil represent a unit of meaning in the context of their discovery, whether on dry land or under water. Excavations are always irreversible intrusions into the find context. In illegal excavations, all information about the find context is permanently lost.

The working group "Archaeological Cultural Heritage" is working on the following publications:

  • “Traces under Water - Exploring and Protecting the Cultural Heritage in the North Sea and Baltic Sea” (Discussion Paper)
  • Disaster Prevention and Risk Management for our Cultural Heritage (Statement)
  • Illegal Excavations and illegal Trafficking (Statement)
  • Archaeological Heritage in Education and Research (Statement)


German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Spokespersons of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger ML, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Prof. Dr. Friederike Fless, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (Member until August 2021)


  • Prof. Dr. Marie-Theres Albert, Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg
  • Prof. Dr. Maja Apelt, Universität Potsdam
  • Dr. Martin Bachmann †, Koldewey Gesellschaft, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) - Martin Bachmann ist am 3. August 2016 überraschend verstorben (Nachruf des DAI)
  • Dr. Mike Belasus, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dr. Roland Bernecker, UNESCO-Deutschland, Bonn
  • Prof. Dr. Olivier Berthod, ICN Business School, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Kerstin von der Decken, Universität zu Kiel (Member until June 2022)
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Funke, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Gehrke ML, Universität Freiburg
  • Prof. Dr. Hauke Jöns, Niedersächsisches Institut für historische Küstenforschung
  • Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert, Kulturstiftung der Länder
  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Knaut, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kunow, Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, Bonn
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine Freifrau von Schorlemer, TU Dresden

ML = Member of the Leopoldina



Dr. Constanze Breuer

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 47 239 - 872
E-Mail constanze.breuer (at)leopoldina.org



Dr. Christian Anton

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 47 239 - 861
E-Mail christian.anton (at)leopoldina.org