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It is ZBSA’s task to further the state of knowledge of European archaeology and history through archaeological, historical, scientific and numismatic research in the Baltic and North Atlantic areas and in Scandinavia. In particular, the significance of the North Sea and the Baltic as spheres of communication during prehistoric and early historic times is investigated.

If previous archaeological research into the Northern countries perceived the sea as a threat, a danger and a boundary, then a clear change in this image has seen acceptance in recent decades. Today, we consider the oceans to be connecting elements that allow, but also demand, various kinds and levels of communication. Previously, neither the intensity and quality nor the temporal dynamics of these processes were understood, assessed and interpreted on a wider regional scale relative to various prehistoric periods and early historic times. Research must aim to address questions of political, social, economical, military and cultic communication more distinctly and specifically than before, and the finding must be seen with a joint concept of the North Sea and the Baltic as arenas for large-scale interaction. Following on from this a further research complex emerges relating to questions of transformation and change, intensity and dynamics – and this relates to epochs for which we have virtually no written sources and where we are directed to an interpretation of the archaeological sources.


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