Thematic Area 3: Urban Agglomerations

Urban Agglomerations

Spokesperson: Johannes Lipps

The 21st century is generally considered to be the ‘century of cities’, because never before have so many people lived in concentrated spaces that are characterized by a complex organizational and economic structure. These urban entities represent extremely unstable equilibria, being confronted both structurally and situationally with a multitude of exogenous and endogenous challenges. Due to the tight structural and social interconnectedness of the urban fabric, but also of different urban spaces among each other, unexpected chains of events can arise here, affecting large numbers of people at the same time. The topic of ‘(proto)urban agglomeration’ and its current challenges proves to be so complex that questions of economic, ecological, social and cultural sustainability, resilience (in both a positive and negative sense) or the transformative potential of urban concentration and the people living in these entities are still the subject of lively scientific debates today. TA 3 adds a multidisciplinary perspective to current research on the sustainability, resilience and transformation of contemporary urban aggregations and explores the multitude of strategies that people have used to address economic, ecological and social challenges over the past millennia. Our main research question is how challenges and the conflicts and reactions they engender influence long-term coexistence in densely populated (proto)urban spaces and thus contribute to its success or failure. A special focus will be on the social challenges of individuals and groups.

The Thematic Area 3 'Urban Consolidation' brings together projects that examine case studies from the 5th millennium BC to the early modern period and from the Near East to Central Europe, thus mutually benefiting from each other. All projects focus on built space, social orders and institutions as well as individual and collective social practices, three pillars that can be complemented by a multitude of other thematic fields such as religion, social stratification, etc. This establishes parameters within which addressing challenges in concentrated (proto)urban spaces becomes comparable across cultures and time.  Our unique characteristic lies in the combination of special combination of (proto)urban concentration with the topic of challenges and a focus on socio- historical aspects. Our cross-cultural and cross-temporal perspective makes it possible to structure the perception, conceptualization and coping with the challenges of living closely together in (proto)urban spaces from a historical perspective and, above all, to assess long-term transformative processes associated with them. The multitude of challenges investigated exemplarily for densely populated (proto)urban areas facilitates the exchange within the wider profile area.


T3.1 Tell Chuera: Conflict, Fortification and the Sociopolitical Organization of a 3rd Millennium BCE City-State Dr. Tobias Helms
T3.2 Social Balance in Ancient Oriental Cities as a Challenge Prof. Dr. Alexander Pruß
T3.3 The hidden Cityscape of Vulci. Archaeological studies on the urban landscape of an Etruscan-Roman city Dr. Paul P. Pasieka, Dr. Mariachiara Franceschini
T3.4 Coping with Life in Ancient Rome. Individual strategies for dealing with urban challenges reflected in the literature of the Late Republic and the Early Empire Prof. Dr. Christine Walde, Apl. Prof. Dr. Annemarie Ambühl, Matthias Heinemann
T3.5 Visualized challenges in Roman houses: illustrations of tragedy and comedy and the conceptualization of living together Prof. Dr. Heide Frielinghaus, Prof. Dr. Christine Walde, Prof. Dr. Thomas Blank
T3.6 Separate groups and civic society: mutually challenging relations in pre-modern Syria  Prof. Dr. Thomas Blank, Prof. Dr. Barbara Henning, Dr. Michael Hölscher
T3.7 Perception, conceptualisation and coping with challenges in Mogontiacum  Prof. Dr. Johannes Lipps
T3.8 Jerusalem: through the pages of historical challenges Dr. Merav Mack
T3.9 Change in Rulership as Challenge. Urban Coexistence in the Mirror of Urban Written Tradition (1250–1520) Prof. Dr. Nina Gallion, Dr. Heidrun Ochs
T3.10 Beginnings of urbanization in the Rhine-Main area - the Kapellenberg near Hofheim am Taunus 6000 years ago  Prof. Dr. Detlef Gronenborn
T3.11 FRINGES – Research at the edge of intracultural border, influence and settlement areas Dr. Bianka Nessel
T3.12 Limits and challenges of Iron Age settlement concentrations Dr. Kerstin P. Hofmann



Apl. Prof. Dr. Annemarie Ambühl

Prof. Dr. Thomas Blank

Dr. Mariachiara Franceschini

Prof. Dr. Heide Frielinghaus

Prof. Dr. Nina Gallion

Prof. Dr. Detlef Gronenborn

Matthias Heinemann

Dr. Tobias Helms

Prof. Dr. Barbara Henning

Dr. Michael Hölscher

Dr. Kerstin P. Hofmann

Prof. Dr. Johannes Lipps

Dr. Merav Mack

Dr. Bianka Nessel

Dr. Heidrun Ochs

Dr. Paul P. Pasieka

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pruß

Prof. Dr. Christine Walde