The reciprocal word pair “Forschungskontinuität und Kontinuitätsforschung” (continuity of research and research of continuity) in the project-title outlines the significant difficulties and opportunities of the traditional, but not unproblematic history of the archaeological sciences in landscapes, that are very rich in findings and important for the development of northern and eastern Europe. These landscapes are situated on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, especially in the former East Prussia, the current Kaliningrad Region of Russia, but also Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. On the one hand, the title of the project displays the rich basis of sources, which was compiled by researchers from several countries for more than one and a half centuries. Its central element- the former Königsberger Prussia-collection and additional pre-war archive holdings- was thought to be lost through war events and later political circumstances. Since the 1990s the holdings have been mostly rediscovered and after painstaking work sorted insofar as they are now available again for the science. Especially these archive documents and findings symbolize the continuity of research, that was interrupted through the war and is now restored and continued in the course of the project and in international cooperation. On the other hand, the project title also takes up the phenomenon of the remarkable stability of settlement of the Baltic cultures. They survived the big migration flows in the Migration Period almost unchanged like their archaeological legacies: the numerous hill forts, that in the dense web of surrounding settlements and cemeteries, that are mostly unexplored, only form the visible tip of the archaeological iceberg.
The central concern of the project is therefore the extensive examination of a very complex settlement- and cultural landscape in the first pre- and after Christian century in a geographical greater area on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea.
All available archive documents and findings from the earlier excavations are evaluated while at the same time the new research results are incorporated and the interdisciplinary canon of methods, which is a standard today, is used. The results are on the one hand united in an archaeological atlas, which comments on the concerning site catalogue-like and simultaneously permanently secures the shared cultural heritage of the archive documents for the archaeology of the region and on the other hand presented in a voluminous publication series on the settlement history.
The concept is developed by the directors from both requesting institutes “Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie” in Schleswig and “Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz”, Prof. C. von Carnap-Bornheim and Prof. M. Wemhoff, in close cooperation with expert colleagues from Pland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Germany.
Overall, the total volume of the project is more than 6 Million Euros, which enables the employment of three scientists, one technical co-worker and 18 PhD students during the project duration of 18 years.