Rouven Schneider, Alumni


Rouven Schneider (Germany, 1979)

Dipl.-Prähist. in Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology

PhD project
Communication and Interaction: Contacts and Spheres of Influence During the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age in Europe.
This investigation addresses a selection of archaeological remains from the time span between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age in Central, Western and Northern Europe. In particular, the focus of this study lies on an analysis of systems of communication and interaction. For this purpose, the sources have to be limited not by area of interest, but on the level of the material remains because all artefacts of the relevant time span cannot be taken into consideration. Accordingly, the sources are narrowed down by a selection of chronologically distinct and supra-regional spread groups of artefacts, which can be understood as markers for interaction. This can be applied, on the one hand, for single-edged razors without handles which appear in three basic variations (crescent-like, trapezoid and triangular) and, on the other hand, for dress pins with S-shaped shafts (so-called swan‘s neck pins). The latter show a variety of different shaft-end alignments and a large spectrum of different pin-heads. They are made of bronze, iron, or a combination of both, whereas the razors only include bronze and iron types. These artefacts were found in hoards, graves, settlements, and as single-finds.

A total recording of all finds including these artefacts was desired but certainly not fulfilled. Nevertheless, 1.352 archaeological complexes with one or several of these artefacts were recorded, geographically located, and all associated finds were registered. All objects were classified with the help of a poly-hierarchical numeric method. This unique classification features modularity and the possibility of classifying overlapping cross-relations. It registers a wide range of monothetical attributes and polythetical features which all represent different aspects of the objects. The method is executed with the help of four classifications, which in sum characterise each object as a whole entity. Classification A addresses the material, while classification B regards the form and the function of each artefact. Classifications C and D are additionally applied on ornamented objects and address the decorations and the techniques with which each object was treated.

At first, the spatial dispersion of different attribute-feature-combinations is presented descriptively. For this purpose, all find spots are automatically clustered in so-called units of analysis with the help of a spatial-statistical operation. This is a compensation of the material filtered point of view and, in addition, it enables the formulation of statements for geographical areas as a whole.

In the course of interpreting different patterns of diffusion, one becomes aware of a certain liability to subjective conclusions. Addressing this crucial point, a method of modelling prehistoric networks of communication is affiliated discussing each step based on the other. The resulting procedure is applied on several spatially recorded attribute-feature-combinations. The combination of these systems of interaction leads to an aggregational network, in which the data from 61 single networks are integrated. It represents a partition of the entire Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age spheres of interaction. The value of interaction for each connection between units of analysis is seen in respect to its macrochore and therefore can pinpoint potential routes of communication. In this process, a significant dependency on stream systems, on the one hand, and on parts of the European main watershed, on the other hand, becomes visible. Additionally, the results from modelling are compared to other established studies focusing on contemporaneous communication and conclusions are discussed. The results of this thesis emphasize the importance of transparent and modular methods, which should represent the basis of historico-cultural interpretations.

Disertation available on:
Research interests

• Diffusion of innovation and transfer structures of novelties, particularly in transitional material phases and methods of status and prestige interpretation.

• Chronotheoretical discussions and the reception of time in historical scenes and statistical methods for constructing relative chronology, considerations on object-morphology and methods of constructing and interpreting typology, spatial analysis using GIS.

• Early Iron-Age in general.


Since April 2008
Associated member of the Graduate School „Human Development in Landscapes“ at the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel.
Member of the workgroups "AG Eisenzeit" and the "Netzwerk Vorrömische Eisenzeit".

Since 2006
Postgraduate-scholarship holder at the "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes".

Graduation at the University of Kiel on the topic of the transition from Bronze- to Iron-Age in parts of Denmark and Northern Germany.

2000 - 2005
Studies of pre- and protohistoric archaeology, anthropology, geology and palaeontology from at the University of Kiel.

Work experience

2007 - 2008
Temporary university teaching position on the topic Iron-Age.

Archaeological and geological excavation of a neolithic settlement site and former sea-bank at "Lütjenburg" (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany).

Archaeological excavation of a well in the roman site of "Wallendorf" (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany).

2002, 2003 & 2004
Archaeological excavation of the early iron-age hill fort "Mt. Lassois" near Vix (Burgundy, France).

2002 - 2003
Typology and morphological analysis of phytoliths as a scientific assistant.

Selected publications

Veränderungen zwischen jüngerer Bronzezeit und vorrömischer Eisenzeit innerhalb der nordeuropäischen Brandgräbergruppen – Paradigmen und Perspektiven. In: Karl und Leskovar (Hrsg.), Interpretierte Eisenzeiten. Fallstudien, Methoden, Theorie. Tagungsband zu den 3. Linzer Gesprächen zur interpretativen Eisenzeitarchäologie. Studien zur Kulturgeschichte von Oberösterreich 22, Linz 2009, 47-64

Prä-Jastorf - Schwantes‘ „Stufe von Wessenstedt“ in überregionalem Kontext. In: Budesheim und Keiling (Hrsg.), Die Jastorf-Kultur. Forschungsstand und kulturhistorische Probleme der vorrömischen Eisenzeit. Beiträge für Wissenschaft und Kultur der freien Lauenburgischen Akademie für Wissenschaft und Kultur e.V., Band 9, 2009, 41-68.

Der Übergang von der Bronze- zur Eisenzeit – Neue Studien zur Periode VI des Norschen Kreises in Teilen Dänemarks und Norddeutschlands. Universitätsforschungen zur Prähistorischen Archäologie, Band 129 (Bonn 2006), (diploma thesis).

Die Periode VI des Nordischen Kreises in Teilen Norddeutschlands und Dänemarks. Starigard, Jahresbericht des Fördervereins des Instituts für Ur- und Frühgeschichte der CAU zu Kiel, Band 6, 2005, 29-37.

Der Übergang von der Bronze- zur Eisenzeit – Neue Studien zur Periode VI des Nordischen Kreises in Teilen Dänemarks und Norddeutschlands. Archäologische Informationen, Band 28/1&2, 2005, 247-253.

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