Our major concern is the evaluation of the determinants of human population development in time and space, and changing human/environment relationships. The research substrate is mainly made up of archaeological human skeletal finds, where archaeometric analysis of inorganic and organic components are capable of unraveling important aspects of daily history.
Furthermore, a tight cooperation with regard to academic teaching and research has been established with the Institute of Legal Medicine of the LMU since long.
In the following, our research focus will be briefly outlined.
Bodily relics, mainly skeletal finds, of human individuals from the past constitute an empirical source for the reconstruction of human population development in time and space. Furthermore, they belong to the primary sources for the exploration of human occupation of ecological niches with the result of the genesis of anthropogenic landscapes and even whole anthropogenic ecosystems, the consequences of which are lasting until today.
While deciphering these archaeobiological archives, focus is on the search for the netting relationship between man and his biological environment . The research group “Anthropology and Environmenal History” works in close cooperation with the Bavarian Natural History Collection of Anthropology and Palaeoanatomy in Munich (www.sapm.mwn.de).
Every research on archaeological skeletal finds starts with the identification of each find with regard to the baseline biological data such as age-at-death, sex, and other morphological features (e.g. proportions, robusticity). With regard to questions related to identification problems, a tight cooperation exists with the Institute of Legal Medicine.
Scientific questions and academic teaching:
Each scientific question necessitates its specific methodological approach. Consequently, our academic teaching focusses on the communication of a broad methodological spectrum. Not least, this spectrum is necessary for the accompanying decomposition research, that is the assessment of time and environment specific changes of the molecular and crystalline composition of archaeological skeletal finds. Current research topics are reflected in the subjects of students’ thesis (see “people”).
In addition to the basic education, special lectures are offered concerning Historical Anthropology, Environmental History, Functional Anatomy, and Archaeometry. Seminars are held on diverse aspects of physical anthropology and palaeoanthropology.
Research group “Transalpine mobility and culture transfer” (German Science Foundation, FOR 1670), speaker: Prof. Grupe. www.en.for1670-transalpine.uni-muenchen.de
The prehistorical society of Upper Mesopotamia and its subsistence. (German Science Foundation, long term project; with Joris Peters, Institute of Palaeoanatomy and History of Veterinary Medicine, LMU; and Klaus Schmidt, German Archaeological Institute, Berlin).
The Global History of Health Project (with Richard Steckel, Economics Department der Ohio State University, USA)
Our research group is member of the ArchaeoBioCenterLMU (www.en.archaeobiocenter.uni-muenchen.de)