Neolithic studies from Bavaria to Bergen
Daniela Hofmann, newly appointed Associate Professor in archaeology, hopes that the Neolithic social structures can tell us something about the present.
Her research combines the close study of archaeological material with theoretical approaches and the result of scientific techniques to study identity creation, boundary marking and culture change at various social scales.
-I studied in in Cardiff, where I originally went to learn about the Celts. Realising that ‘the Celts’ didn’t exist, I changed to the Neolithic, and I have been interested in that ever since.
Hofmann did a PhD about changes in the architecture and the burial customs over the first 1000 years of the Neolithic in Bavaria. After finishing her PhD work in 2006, she tried to link this research to bigger social changes. Working as a research assistant in Cardiff University and the University of Oxford, she started writing about figurines and the human body more generally, both in life and in death. On a project in Cardiff, she worked on radiocarbon dating for many different areas of the Neolithic in Europe and went to Malta, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Spain. The last five years she has worked at Hamburg University, being able to develop her research a bit more.
-At the moment, I am interested in migration as a social phenomenon in the Neolithic. We now know that migration happened, thanks to DNA analysis, but we have no idea of what this actually meant for the people involved, or how this process worked on the ground. Maybe I am so interested in this because I have spent so much of my life away from where I am actually from, Bavaria.
-The development of hierarchies in the later part of the Neolithic is also important in my research. I am trying to research whether this really happened everywhere in the same way, and I am part of a group of researchers arguing that perhaps the process was more varied and complicated. I hope so, because that would mean there are alternatives to strong hierarchies, and this is interesting - also for the present.
One migration later, Daniela Hofmann is in Bergen at AHKR.
-I do like it here, and in the future, I hope to study the past of Norway, which is very interesting from both a migration and a hierarchy point of view.