Doctoral research student Heiko Scholz, M.A.

Doctoral research student

Heiko Scholz (Germany)

M.A. in Archaeology

PhD project
The Location of the Hoard: Study on the Relative Positions of Bronze Age Metal Depositions in the Southern and Western Baltic Sea Region (working title).
The initial hypothesis of this PhD project postulates that the bulk of Bronze Age metal depositions can be considered a culturally motivated phenomenon. As parts of rituals they are embedded in social practices, maybe in religious contexts as votive offerings. In this connection a hoard is more than just an assemblage of objects. The deposition act and its circumstances, including the deposition sites, are also part of the hoard. If the hoards are results or aspects of important social rituals, we can suppose that the locations where these rituals took place were also significant. These places and the respective depositions were normally the only visible remains of the ritual and therefore possibly an anchor for their memory. The connection between the memory of actions and space provided Bronze Age communities with the opportunity and the setting to store memory and facilitated the act of remembering, even after a long period of time. Space is an important medium of the collective memory, not only in communities without a written culture. Knowledge of the hoard find places gives us the extraordinary chance to make invisible parts of Bronze Age landscape layout and cultural memory visible.

This study includes the ca. 800 hoard finds from Period I to VI of the whole Bronze Age and the earliest Iron Age in Northern Germany and Northwest Poland. The aim of the research project is to make out, map, describe, and interpret the Bronze Age hoard landscape. Two main issues are in focus: Where exactly were the hoards deposited, and were certain natural conditions preferred? What is the relationship between hoard find places and other find groups? Is it possible to identify a structured Bronze Age landscape divided by function or by meaning? A central goal is to identify culturally determined patterns in the choice of the deposition places in order to investigate the assumption on the possible intentional background of the hoards.

The basis of all spatial analyses here is the (re) localisation of the find places of these depositions by using results from research at museums and heritage service archives, historical and geological maps, aerial photos as well as from other written research. To systematize the relocated places a location type model will be established. With the help of these types it will be possible to search for temporal and spatial patterns between the places, the inventories, and the deposition circumstances. For this reason statistical methods and spatial analyses will be used. The hoards do not stand alone, but are rather part of a structured Bronze Age landscape.

Another part of the project is a further description of the hoards taking an analysis of the relationships between the deposition places and the other find-groups in several regional investigations into account. To make the structures of the divided Bronze Age landscape visible, a mapping in a 3D digital terrain model is planned.
Research interests Central North European Bronze Age. The formation of early Bronze Age societies. Theories of social structures and their plausibility in the archaeological record. Theories of social landscapes and processes of their structuring. Rituals, ritual landscapes and memory processes.

Since April 2010
Member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” at the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel.

Associated member of the Research Group C-III (Acts) at the Excellence Cluster Topoi, Berlin.

Graduation (Magister Artium) at the Free University of Berlin with a thesis about Bronze Age metal depositions in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, supervised by Prof. S. Hansen.

Studies on pre-and protohistory, political sciences, history and sociology at the Free University of Berlin.

Work experience

Student research assistant at the editorial office of the DAI Eurasian Department, Berlin.

Participation as student assistant in the archaeological excavations at the fortified settlement Monkodonja and the grave mounds on Mušego, carried out by the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory Berlin and the Istrian Archaeological Museum Pula.

Participation in diverse archaeological excavations carried out by excavation companies in Brandenburg.

Selected publications

Scholz 2012: Hoard find places in the context of environmental changes. In: J. Kneisel / W. Kirleis / M. Dal Corso / N. Taylor / V. Tiedtke, Collapse or Continuity? Environment and Development of Bronze Age Human Landscapes. Proceedings of the International Workshop “Socio?Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes II (14th – 18th March 2011)” in Kiel (Bonn 2012) 153 – 168.

Scholz, H: Lageuntersuchungen als Mittel zur Hortbeschreibung und Interpretation. Beispiele anhand der Lageverhältnisse bronzezeitlicher Horte in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In: S. Hansen, D. Neumann, T. Vachta (Hrsg.), Hort und Raum. Aktuelle Forschungen zu bronzezeitlichen Deponierungen in Miteleuropa. Tagung Berlin 2010. Topoi. Berlin Studies of the Ancient World (accepted).