This is an interview about archaeology in Germany and beyond. Friedrich Lüth, currently president of the European Association of Archaeologists, among other positions, talks about archaeological practice and thought in Germany and Europe and the relationship between both. Is German pre- and protohistoric archaeology still best known for its disciplined approaches to material evidence and the thoroughness with regard to the data (Härke 1989)? Are there still concerns whether it is atheoretical (Klejn 1993)? In this interview Lüth reflects on university chairs versus ‘schools’, we hear about how to gain new facts and how to deconstruct interpretations, and we learn about the sixteenfold German heritage management – archaeology is the competence of the sixteen Bundesländer (states) rather than of the Bund, because state archaeological services as well as the universities fall under the laws of the states, not under federal laws. Topics range from the Bologna process to Germany's attitude towards ‘world archaeology’, from positivism to plurality, and from budgets to languages. We also learn much about the self-perception of archaeology in Germany as a subject between data and theory, between humanities and sciences, and between knowledge production and public relevance.
Alexander Gramsch received degrees from Cambridge University (UK) and Leipzig University (Germany). His primary research interests are matters of theory and methodology. Moreover, he has worked on agency in Bronze Age cremation burials, on the Bell Beaker phenomenon and on the ritual practice of TRB barrowbuilding. He has edited Vergleichen als archäologische Methode (Oxford 2000), Ritual und Kommunikation (Bonn 2010) and co-edited, together with P.F. Biehl and A. Marciniak, Archaeologies of Europe. History, methods and theories (Münster 2002). He has worked for private archaeological companies; lectured at universities in Berlin, Freiburg and Leipzig; organized conferences for the German Theoretical Archaeology Group (T-AG); and was part of a research project on social interpretations in archaeology at Basel University. Currently he is conducting excavations in southwestern Germany and is editor of the European archaeologist as well as being one of the editors of Archaeological dialogues.