To gain an understanding of human development, one needs to detail the interactions between mankind and both its physical and perceived environment. Graduate training and research already emphasizes interdisciplinary research involving both Arts and Humanities and Natural Sciences on this topic at Christian-Albrechts-Universität (CAU). This is exemplified by numerous graduate projects in Natural Sciences that have been, and are, tackling archaeological problems, while, at the same time, cultural studies and archaeology provide important clues and directions for scientific analysis.
Intensified cross-linkages between academic disciplines, graduate researchers’ growing needs for analytical equipment and an efficient infrastructure, as well as an increasingly internationalized research environment, made it necessary to set up a multi-disciplinary Graduate School (GS). This school makes available new research and communication structures to our graduate students, enabling them to do innovative research.
The new training programmes, communication networks, and interdisciplinary research foci will strengthen and enhance the existing CAU infrastructure and establish the GS as an international research and educational centre. We build on existing research networks that emphasize interdisciplinary research to further a holistic approach to the study of human societies´ development in changing landscapes. We define landscape as a dynamic space of social, cultural, and ecological significance, which develops interactively with the human societies occupying it.
Accordingly, we outline a GS concept that merges information from molecular biology and archaeology, geoinformatics and art history, geophysics and isotope research, ancient languages and palaeoecology, written/oral traditions and palaeoclimate to study and understand this interactive development. The dynamics of human development – and thus of landscape and living space – are captured by a complex interplay of diverse factors (biological traits of social groups, conditions of the natural environment, social constants and their material representations) covered by the joint research of our disciplines. The results of the research could give new impulses for present landscape and cultural management.