With ›Archaeofilm‹, the State Museum presents a wide range of films on its exhibitions and on archaeological research at the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt. The broad spectrum of topics ranges from the scientific research on the Nebra Sky Disc to the presentation of the highlights of the permanent exhibition at the State Museum. In addition, international experts are interviewed on camera about their research and provide information about their special fields, ongoing investigations and current research in a rarely experienced length and intensity – so you can experience archaeology at first hand in various film series!
The State Museum of Prehistory in Halle (Saale) is known throughout the world as the home of the Nebra Sky Disc, but even without this spectacular find the museum would be outstanding. It is a part of the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology in Saxony-Anhalt and hosts one of the oldest, most extensive and most important archaeological collections in Germany. Get to know the State Museum in all its facets and have a look behind its scenes.
More than 400,000 years of human history are presented in the permanent exhibition of the State Museum – from the Palaeolithic Age to the Migration Period. Striking exhibits recount exciting events in impressive stagings and explain contexts from the lives of people in what is now Central Germany. In addition to the unique Nebra Sky Disc, however, it is a multitude of other finds which, as unique relics, provide an insight into everyday life and the main historical developments not only in Saxony-Anhalt, but also in Europe and even in world history.
In ›Museum exklusiv‹, museum director Harald Meller invites you on a tour of the State Museum, presents archaeological finds of worldwide significance, tells stories about the lives of our ancestors and takes a look behind the scenes of the spectacular stagings of the permanent exhibition. Come along!
The grave of the shaman of Bad Dürrenberg is one of the highlights in the permanent exhibition of the State Museum and a world-class find. The deceased was buried about 9,000 years ago with an overabundance of equipment underpinning her status as a shaman. On 4 May 1934, it accidentally resurfaced from the darkness of history. In the film series ›Archaeology exclusive: new research on the shaman of Bad Dürrenberg‹, the tomb and the buried woman will be revealed their last secrets. This is achieved with the help of the state-of-the-art analysis methods and the most recent archaeological and anthropological findings.
More than 4,000 years ago, the ring sanctuary of Pömmelte was built near the Elbe near today's Schönebeck, about 25 kilometres south of Magdeburg. For more than 250 years, at the end of the Neolithic period and until the transition to the Early Bronze Age, the monumental site was the ritual centre of the region, an important place of worship comparable in many respects to Stonehenge in England. The film ›The ring sanctuary of Pömmelte – reconstruction of a prehistoric monument‹ (in German only) is dedicated to the research and reconstruction of this important sanctuary. It accompanies the scientists who have worked intensively on the sanctuary in recent years and conveys an impression of the fascinating resurrected ›German Stonehenge‹ in impressive images.
From 2014 to 2017, the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt investigated near Dieskau the preserved remains of the Early Bronze Age large burial mound ›Bornhöck‹ (municipality of Schkopau, village of Raßnitz, Saalekreis) as part of a teaching and research excavation in cooperation with the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.
The Battle of Lützen is considered one of the main battles of the Thirty Years' War. From 2006 to 2011, archaeologists from the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt investigated the area of the former battlefield. This film presents the archaeological work on the battlefield and shows how important the still relatively young branch of battlefield archaeology is for the study of historical events.
Battlefield archaeology is a relatively young discipline within archaeology, but its unusual methods and results have attracted a great deal of interest in recent years, and not only among experts. In Saxony-Anhalt, the battlefield of Lützen was investigated, where one of the bloodiest battles of the Thirty Years' War was fought. It is known throughout the world because of the death of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden on the Lützen battlefield. Watch interviews with international experts in battlefield archaeology who were part of the research group on the Lützen battlefield.
This film deals with the question why many prehistoric large mammals no longer live in Central Europe. The interviews were conducted as part of the special exhibition ›Land of the elephants. A fossil world in Europe‹ (26 March 2010 to 30 January 2011) at the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle (Saale). Why did ancient elephants, woolly rhinoceros and many others die out in Central Europe about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago? What role did climatic fluctuations play, and what role did the spread of modern humans play?
As part of the concluding conference of DFG Research Group 550 ›Der Aufbruch zu neuen Horizonten. Neue Sichtweisen über die europäische Frühbronzezeit (The dawn of new horizons. New perspectives on the European Early Bronze Age)‹ in November 2010, Harald Meller met with leading scholars in the field of archaeology and related disciplines. Under the motto ›New Research on the European Early Bronze Age›, detailed, in-depth discussions among colleagues – suitable for laypeople and experts alike – take their starting point from the question of the significance of the Nebra Sky Disc for Bronze Age research.
The focus of the 4th Central German Archaeologists' Conference, which took place in Halle in October 2011, was the question ›1600 – Cultural upheaval in the shadow of the Thera eruption?‹ The conference united geoscientists and archaeologists, but also colleagues from other disciplines, and provided an excellent opportunity to ask scientists from a wide range of specialisations about their research focus and results in front of the camera for the series ›Harald Meller meets...‹. The focus was on the volcanic eruption of Santorini around 1600 BC as well as extreme events and the question of their impact on weather, climate, environment and society in general.
Hansjürgen Müller-Beck, emeritus professor of prehistoric archaeology from Tübingen, who died in August 2018, was one of Germany's most renowned researchers of prehistory. His research area, however, stretched from Thailand to Chukotka, from Arctic Canada to Cuba. Thus Hansjürgen Müller-Beck was not only an expert on the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic, but also on the way of life of recent hunter cultures.
For the series ›Harald Meller meets...‹ he met for a multi-part interview devoted to Hansjürgen Müller-Beck's life and scientific career as well as to some of his main research topics.
Pompeii – the name of hardly any other ancient city is still so well known to the general public. Life at the foot of Vesuvius was characterised by the constant threat of the volcano, which could erupt at any time. In 79 AD, disaster struck: Pompeii and neighbouring Herculaneum were buried under a rain of ash and pumice. At the same time, the sites on Vesuvius and thus the evidence of everyday Roman life were preserved.
What is the use of counting wing covers? Edith Schmidt (Freiburg) is a graduate biologist. As a freelance, experienced specialist in the examination of insect remains in archaeological features, she is involved in a wide variety of archaeological projects. The spectrum of her work ranges from over 7,000-year-old Linear Pottery wells to medieval latrines, from wetland settlements to burials from churches of the Middle Ages. In an interview with Harald Meller, Edith Schmidt explains her working methods and the sometimes sensational results of her investigations.
Until mid-2010, the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt carried out archaeological excavations on the new Erfurt–Leipzig/Halle ICE line in close cooperation with DB ProjektBau GmbH, acting on behalf of DB Netz AG, and with various other partners. Within 18 years, 27 sites were investigated along a 64-kilometre-long section of track covering an area of more than 140 hectares, around 15,000 features were documented and more than 400,000 artefacts were recovered.
Alchemy is considered the mother of all modern natural sciences. During archaeological excavations by the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, an inconspicuous pit was discovered in 2012 in the former Franciscan monastery in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Numerous glass fragments were lying in it. After the fragments from the 16th century were restored, it became clear that they were the shards of equipment from an alchemist's workshop – a sensation.