Doctoral research student Anna Wierzgon, M.A.

Doctoral research student

Anna Wierzgon (Poland, 1986)

M.A. in Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology

PhD project
Archaeobotanical investigations on urban settlements in northern Germany from the 12th to the 17th century; The case studies of Luebeck, Kiel and Uelzen
The results of archaeobotanical investigations on soil samples from different urban deposits deliver a broad picture of plant use in the everyday life and vegetation in former times. This research focuses on the local environment and the living conditions of the inhabitants of urban settlements in northern Germany in the Medieval Period and the Early Modern Times. Therefore, the research project deals with three important historical urban sites that are investigated by means of archaeobotany: Luebeck (12th century), Kiel (13th century) and Uelzen (17th century). Based on the results of these investigations it is possible to reconstruct the urban environmental and living conditions in the past.
This interdisciplinary study combines botanical material with archaeological and historical sources. As a basis for the research serves a list with taxa of cultivated, wild and imported plants from the archaeobotanical analyses of the three urban sites. Additionally, Luebeck, Kiel and Uelzen will be compared with other urban places in northern Germany and northern Europe, where the archaeobotanical analyses had already been carried out. It allows to evolve a general model of the vegetation in the early urban settlements at the Baltic Sea.
The research questions concern distribution patterns of cultivated as well as wild plants, in particular the detection of ruderal urban areas. This allows getting insight into spatial organisation of the urban settlements and the anthropogenic changes in the past environment and can answer the questions about effects of the urbanization process in the respective site on urban ecology including the synanthropic vegetation and soil properties and trace changes over time related to human activities like husbandry, water and garbage management or drainage of the terrain.
Numerous fruits and seeds of wild plants from cultural layers from the 12th to the 17th century have the potential to be a source for environmental reconstruction. Large amounts of well-preserved plant-remains, which derive from various habitats off-site and on-site of the urban sites, allow reconstructing the local environment and the landscape surroundings. The results will contribute to the understanding of human-environment relationship in urban contexts in northern Germany in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times.
Research interests archaeobotanical analysis, archaeology of food, medieval agriculture, nutrition and dietetics, science in archaeology

Since January 2016
Member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” at Kiel University.

Master of Arts in Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University.
Thesis: Macro-remains from Harburger Schlossstraße between 13th and 17th century (in German language)

Bachelor of Arts in Classical Archaeology and Spanish Philology, Kiel University.
Thesis: Ancient necropolis of Tivoli (in German language)

Work experience Research Experience:

November 2013 – March 2014
Student Research Assistant, Archaeological Museum Hamburg (Helms-Museum).

August 2011 – December 2012
Student Research Assistant, Institute for Ecosystem Research, Kiel University.

Archaeological Fieldwork:

June – July 2013
Excavation of a neolithic causeway enclosure within the project ”Monumental enclosures, non-megalithic and megalithic tombs of the early and middle Neolithic in Schleswig-Holstein”, Büdelsdorf (Kiel University).

September – October 2012
Excavation of a medieval church within a project “St. Catharinenkirche am Jellenbek Kr. Rendsburg-Eckernförde”, Krusendorf (Kiel University).

September – October 2011
Excavation of an abandoned medieval village Schmeessen within a project “Wüstung Schmeessen”, Solling (Halle-Wittenberg University).

Conference presentations and posters:

September 2015
Archaeobotanical Workshop in Instytut Botaniki im. W. Szafera PAN in Cracov
Presentation: Macro-remains from Harburger Schlossstraße between 13th and 17th century (in Polish language).

May 2015
Jahrestreffen der AG Archäobotanik der Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft in Bernbeuren am Auerberg
Presentation: Macro-remains from Harburger Schlossstraße between 13th and 17th century (in German language).

June 2014
Jahrestreffen der AG Archäobotanik der Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft in Basel, 27.-29.6.2014
Poster: The archaeobotanical investigations in Harburg (in German language).