RUB » Faculty of History » Archaeological Studies

Pre- and protohistory



The degree course of prehistoric archaeology or pre- and early history concerns itself with the periods of human history which have either none or only very limited written resources. Its focus of attention lies on the worldwide cultural history from the early humans in the Stone Age until the Early Medieval Period with its main concentration on Central Asia, the Atlantic between North Africa and Scandinavia.
Everyday culture, history, economy as well as society and religion of the prehistoric cultures are the most important areas in this line of studies. Therefore prehistoric archaeology uses a wide array of methods which include traditional comparative methods of object and image analysis, statistical and scientific methods and basic approaches in sociology, ethnology and cultural studies.
Prehistoric archaeology is closely linked to archaeometry as well as other archaeological disciplines, e.g. classical archaeology with its study of the Mediterranean cultural history.
Among the traditional techniques of prehistoric archaeology are excavations and field surveys. In this way prehistoric man and his remnants can be variously examined in a diversity of early landscapes, environments, societies and economies.


Studying in Bochum

At the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) prehistoric archaeology can be set as a focus during undergraduate studies (Bachelor of Arts) as part of archaeological studies.
Having attained the bachelor in prehistoric archaeology a masters programme in this field can be obtained and subsequently a doctorate in the same research area. The Institute of Archaeological Studies alternatively offers masters programmes in classical archaeology and economic and raw material archaeology.
The emphasis of the prehistoric archaeology courses in Bochum are focused on the earlier prehistoric periods (Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age), the Roman Empire, the Early Middle Ages in Europe and the archaeology of North-Rhine Westphalia. Lately the learning contents of prehistoric archaeology have been expanded and now include the prehistory of the Mediterranean Basin and the Near East.
Additionally the Institute offers seminars for the Palaeolithic Period, which are held by qualified members of the archaeological field office in Olpe, Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL), scientific field trips and guest lectures.
A close cooperation with the “Westfälischen Museum für Archäologie”in Herne (Archaeological Museum of Westphalia) allows additional courses with more practical approaches.


Special features of research and teaching

In Bochum the field of work in prehistoric archaeology with its research and academic studies not only concentrates on Europe in general and on the region of Westphalia in particular, but also covers the Mediterranean Basin, parts of Asia and South America.
Amongst other aspects, Bochum places special emphasis on settlement archaeology e.g. the study of the settlement areas of Romans and German tribes in Westphalia and their contact zones especially with respect to the interaction between humans and environment with special focus on the associated exploitation of resources. The cooperation with the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum (DBM) in combined research projects both nationally and internationally can be seen as a great asset.
In this context elements of economic and raw material archaeology are combined with field methods of mining archaeology and scientific methods used in the studies of archaeometallurgy. In addition to projects in Central Europe (Germany, Austria) the institute participates in research co-operations in the Near East, in Eurasia (Georgia, Iran and Kazakhstan) and the Mediterranean Basin (Iberian Peninsula, East Mediterranean Basin).
EDP-aided evaluation methods and – unique in Germany – aerial archaeology in combination with methods of geophysical prospection form a basic corroboration in the international and interdisciplinary research.