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Emergence of Complex Societies

This research area is anchored in the highly diverse spectrum of disciplines focusing on the ancient world pursued at Freie Universität.

Research focuses on the pre-modern phase of the history of humanity, starting from prehistoric cultures and proceeding via the early advanced civilizations of Asia, Africa, and the Americas to European antiquity and late antiquity.

The research area focuses on developing an understanding of the conditions and consequences of the emergence of complex societies, including both their preliminary stages and their various trajectories, as a key problem of human culture and society, or possibly even as a paradigm of cultural dynamics in general. As to the question of the repercussions of ancient culture in subsequent eras up to modernity, aspects of reception and transformation as driving forces for human activity will be at the center of our work. Special attention will be paid to aspects of continuity and change, the specificity (or non-specificity) of “European modernity,” and the scope and viability of the notion of modernity itself.


  • Prof. Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann


This research area is primarily supported by the following interdisciplinary research alliance: