Archives of the Past

Prof. Dr. Detlef Rößler
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Dr. Stefan Altekamp, beide Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Institut für Archäologie
Prof. Dr. Knut Ebeling, Professor für Medientheorie, Weißensee - Kunsthochschule Berlin

The research project had its origin in a diagnosis of a so-termed "topicality of the archaeological" starting from the humanities and the arts and having reached a more general public by now. As this "topicality" has manifested itself in the public debate about the relationship of modern techniques and past topics in recent years, the humanities have undergone a change regarding a reformulation of their approach of the past in terms of the techniques and media used. It was the aim of the project "Archives of the Past" to put archaeology as a "key topic" in the centre of the debate about the humanities regarding their position between tradition and technology.

To a scholarly and non-scholarly public, the work of the research group revealed the reasons for which archaeology plays a leading role in today’s discourse on the borders between the humanities and the natural sciences: Different than most humanities, archaeology depends on physical repositories and on the knowledge-producing quality of technology, termed by Theodor Mommsen as "archives of the past". Archaeology’s use of both capacities, obvious not only in its history as an academic discipline but also in the history of its subjects, turns archaeology into a competent interlocutor and intermediary between C.P.Snow’s "two cultures".