In the project period November 2017 to December 2018, the Excellence Cluster Topoi focused on topics that have emerged in the first two funding phases (2007-2017) and have opened up new perspectives and potential for further research. Within the scope of short projects, partial aspects of these topics were examined in more detail on the basis of previous research.


The Astral Sciences – from Tradition to Innovation
This project investigated how new knowledge emerges from the originally separate traditions of astronomy, astrology and mathematics in a transformation and innovation process. The investigations were based on the research results obtained in research group (D-1) Space of Nature.

Destined to fail? Indicators for In-/Stability” in Pi-Ramesse after Ramesses II.
The project aimed at reconstructing parts of the late history of Pi-Ramesse by analyzing aspects of the material culture unearthed during the excavations and combining the evidence with written sources from the 12th and 11th centuries BC.

Text-/bildbezogene Digital Humanities
Within this Digital Humanities project, different digital methods for text- and image-based research and publication were tested or further developed, respectively.

Die Beiläufigkeit der Dinge als kulturelle Stabilisierung
This project was interested in questions about the ontological and phenomenological status of the material remains that archaeologists study.

Nutrition and Nutritive Soul in Aristotle and Aristotelianism
Aristotle is one of the first philosophers who attribute special significance to the most basic part of the soul, namely, the nutritive part. The importance of this psychic part stems not only from the fact that it is possessed by all living things and constitutes a necessary prerequisite for the existence of the soul’s other parts, but also from the fact that it is responsible for the manifestation of a variety of vital functions, such as generation, nutrition, growth and cooling of the living body.

Instable Certainty
How can I be certain about something? This project investigated the ideal of epistemic stability in medieval philosophical and theological debates.

Mapping the Soul in the Instrumental Body: Galen on the Functions of the Parts of the Human Body
The project intended to provide a comprehensive interpretation of Galen´s De usu partium, with a detailed discussion of the exegetic problems that present themselves on close reading.

The project was concerned with the procurement and use of cobalt ore in the production of vitreous materials, notably glass, in the workshops the Late Bronze Age Egyptian settlement of Tell el-Amarna. Research methods included chemical analysis using pXRF, LA-ICP-MS and spatial analysis.

Long Living Landscapes
Cultural landscapes predominate the earth surface. Terraced landscapes are a prominent example for long existing agriculturally used landscapes. Due to their ages with first known implementation during Bronze Age, their high stability and their wide distribution across the Mediterranean terraces were in the focus of this research.

Early Iron in South Asia
The project aimed to compile and catalogue archaeological evidence on early iron smelting in Sri Lanka and thus took up research aims and questions already addressed in the framework of the research group (A-5) Iron.

Transformation of central and decentral structures to govern water management in central Sri Lanka
This project aimed to assess the transformation of central and decentral structures to govern tank-cascade systems in central Sri Lanka since the antique Anuradhapura Kingdom as a complementary case study to the project of the research group (A-3) Water Management.

Contextualising Centrality: Felix Romuliana
This project investigated the changing relationship between the tetrarchic palace of Felix Romuliana near Gamzigrad in Eastern Serbia and its immediate hinterland over time, with a particular focus on developments during periods of socio-political in-/stability in the region.

The “Kreisgraben-phenomenon“- Spatio-temporal differentiation of a cosmological concept in the early 5th millennium BC
By comparing physical structures, GIS-based viewsheds and computed skyscapes of several roundels throughout central Europe, the project attempted to understand the spread of knowledge transfer within the “Kreisgraben-phenomeon” of the early 5th millennium BC.

Aetiology of Culture
Within this project the varieties of aetiological genres, modes and media were systematically explored and described. The aim was to understand and chart the typical functions of aetiologies in their respective historical contexts and explaining them with reference to the diverse ancient and pre-modern civilizations in which they occur.

Natural Hazards – Earthquakes in the Resafa area, Syria
Based on the local situation in the Resafa ruins, it became clear at an early stage that the earthquake damage that can be read off the existing buildings requires special consideration. Since only very few inscriptions can be found in the impressive ruin, the project dealt with the question of whether the sequence of earthquake damages and repair measures, which can be read relatively chronologically, can be related to dated earthquakes in the region.

Natural Hazards – Erdbeben im Kontext antiker Architektur
Complex tectonic structures were designed and executed in the area of ancient representative architecture. The research project dealt with preventive measures and reactions to the forces of nature. The focus was on the investigation of destruction by earthquakes and earthquake prevention measures.

Nationales Kulturgut Transnational. Gesetzliche Regelungen zum Kulturgüterschutz in historischer Perspektive
In this project a collection of over 50 legal texts regarding the movement of cultural heritage was created. The collection is accompanied by an introductory article which scrutinizes the sources from a legal and a cultural-historical perspective.

Genealogy and Genetics
The project investigated the hypothesis that factual ancestry of sovereigns and social elites as well as genealogical narratives as found e.g. in mythology served as measures to stabilize societies and structures of power and governance. It was tested by analyzing archaeological evidence of relatedness, biological evidence of descendance and genealogical narratives in a comparative perspective combining historical, archaeological and palaeogenetic methods.