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Cluster "Signs, symbols and imagery"

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Symbols and images are as old as modern human. In the North Sea and Baltic region they occur for the first time within the earliest settlements of the “Hamburg culture”, appr. 15.000 years ago. In many cases it is difficult to distinguish between a mere ornamental character and a higher, a symbolic meaning. Real symbols, as they appear in different cultural environments (e.g. wheel cross, triskelion, swastika or combined motifs as “bird-fish-motif”) are signs and systems of signs which bear functions above themselves. The correct way of to read and to interpret them is often controversial. However, as an authentic legacy of cultures, which often left virtually no written records, symbols and image-systems are of uttermost significance, as they are of great importance in understanding the historical development of the region from the political, cultural and religious points of view. In order to evaluate both the material and immaterial dimensions of everyday objects bearing these images, various approaches have to be correlated in interdisciplinary cooperation, and especially with the aid of concepts developed in the arts and humanities. By identifying their original contexts and deciphering their pictorial codes, it becomes possible to rediscover and understand the original meaning of the figurative, ornamental or symbolic images. A focus of our research with several projects lies on the characteristic “language of images” of the Germanic peoples in the first millennium AD.

 

'Barbarian art' − roots, synthesis, purpose
Dr. Ruth Blankenfeldt, Prof. Dr. Claus von Carnap-Bornheim, PD Dr. phil. habil. Alexandra Pesch
Examination and dating of Mesolithic antler head-dresses
Markus Wild MA, Dr. John Meadows, Dr. Martin Street (MONREPOS, RGZM)
Gold collars: The power of beasts
Dr. Alexandra Pesch
Imagery: Cultic communication (and: Legacy of Karl Hauck)
Dr. Alexandra Pesch
Late Iron Age pendants (800–1250 AD) in the Eastern Baltic: adorning, self-definition, religion
Tuuli Kurisoo MA
S-shaped clasps in european Barbaricum
Krzysztof Patalan M.A.
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