Archaeological studies on exchange and adjustment processes in the zones of periphery

During the European process of political integration, national boundaries have steadily lost importance in everyday life, significantly stimulating economic and cultural exchange. The multidimensional contact between local inhabitants and foreigners has led to profound societal and civilisatory changes. Cultural engagement of various groups sees new habits emerge, in the one hand, and traditional values recurred to, on the other. Although similar phenomena can be observed in times past, then, exchange would tend to concentrate mainly on frontier regions and large centres.

The new focus of the RGZM on current problems and their consequences in order to subject comparable features of the past to archaeological analysis, renders this subject a research priority. Archaeological sources provide relatively good evidence for the transfer of people, goods, technology and ideas. The same is true for people’s reaction to foreign cultural goods and lifestyles. Written sources can complement research when it comes to the Roman Department, and partially also to the Early Middle Ages.

For the first time, this study aims at a diachronical approach to different adjustment processes by selecting single objects which complement each other. Cultural and political borders as well as those of natural areas are at the centre of attention. The case studies shed light on various phenomena and –like tesserae – contribute towards answering the central questions of the research focus. These questions particularly concern those areas of daily and religious life in which a unilateral or reciprocal exchange between demographic groups occurred.

In the medium term the following phenomena will be prioritised:

  • Trade and exchange of goods in frontier regions
  • Mechanisms and agents of cultural dissemination; reciprocal processes of adjustment
  • Influence of natural and political borders
  • Return to ancient traditions.