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Collection of prehistoric antiquities

Collection of prehistoric antiquities Professorial chair for pre- and early history of the historical institute

The pre- and early history possesses one of the larger collections of archaeological findings of the country. The history of this collection is directly linked to the development of pre- and early history as a subject at the University of Greifswald. The collection includes archaeological findings corresponding to all eras of the pre- and early history of Vorpommern. The reach from the remains of late hunters over important findings of tombs dating back to the iron age all the way to the many and diverse witnessing of the city-life during the middle ages in Greifswald. These archaeological findings are systematically registered since 1823 and gathered within a collection. The growing national conscience fuelled the interest for those archaeological findings, and the collection experienced a careful enlargement under the supervision of the professor for the history of Pommern, Theodor Pyl. Based on the collection, a seminar for pre- and early history was established in the 1920s, and an active research activity developed up until the 1940s. That way, numerous findings of well-known memorials, such as the megalith system Herzogsgrab auf Mönchgut in the south-east of the island Ruegen, or of the famous Slavic temple castle Arkona after Greifswald, entered the collection. Numerous urn burials of the last centuries before Christ (Iron Age), among which also the impressive stone circles in Ziesenbruch near to Netzeband in the east of Greifswald also belong to the valuable collectibles.

Even if the collection had to suffer painful losses at the end of World War II, thanks to the dedication of the different custodians, the collection of prehistorical antiquities still provides an outstanding summary of the pre- and early history of Vorpommern. The oldest proof of the settlement of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 13.800 year old, crafted antlers of a giant deer, belongs to the collection, just like the so-called funnel goblet ceramic of the early farmers of northern Germany 5.500 years ago. Swords made of bronze and iron belt buckles give an insight into the arms and elite culture of the two last millenniums before Christ. But the everyday culture of the Slavic era and of the medieval inhabitants of Greifswald can concretely underline the findings. The collection is regularly enlarged by present archaeological diggings.

Today, the collection is used not only to teach, but also for interdisciplinary research. For example, metal analyses allow scientists to reconstruct the origins of 4.000 year old bronze instruments from south-east Europe, while geneticians of the University of Mainz discover the history of the populations according to skeletons from prehistorical times found in the large stone grave on the island Ruegen.
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