Personal Details

Wiebke Kirleis has held the position of professor for Environmetal Archaelogy at the institute for Pre- and Protohistory since May 2014.

The biologist studied Botany, Anthropology and Environmental History at the Georg-August-University in Göttingen. She wrote her dissertation entitled "Vegetationsgeschichtliche und archäobotanische Untersuchungen zur Landwirtschaft und Umwelt im Bereich der prähistorischen Siedlungen bei Rullstorf, Ldkr. Lüneburg" (PDF) at the “Institut für historische Küstenforschung” (Institute for Historical Coastal Research) in Wilhelmshaven, Lower Saxony. As a postdoc she worked on the botanical remains of the largest excavated Linear Pottery settlement "Rosdorf-Mühlengrund" (Prähist.Zeitschr.) in Southern Lower Saxony at a seminar for Pre- and Protohistory of the University in Göttingen. With a grant from the program for promoting equal opportunities for women in research and teaching in Berlin, she began research at the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Brandenburg and at the archaeological State museum in Wünsdorf, on the landscape development in Northern Brandenburg during the Holocene. Furthermore she was contributing to the collaborative research centres in SFB 586 "Differenz und Integration: Wechselwirkungen zwischen nomadischen und seßhaften Lebensformen in Zivilisationen der Alten Welt" at the MLU Halle-Wittenberg and for SFB 552 "Stability of Rainforest Margins, STORMA" at the Georg-August-University in Göttingen. From 2008-2014 she was employed as junior professor for Environmental Archaeology at the graduate school Human Development in Landscapes and the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory at Kiel University.

Wiebke Kirleis is board member of the Cluster of Excellence Roots and speaker of the Roots technical platform. She is in the board of the Johanna-Mestorf-Akademie. Further, she is co-speaker of the research programme CRC1266 Scales of Transformation. She was was board member of the Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes" until 2018.

Research Focus

The environmental history of the Holocene is the main research priority. These areas and aspects are emphasized therein:

  • Environmental and Landscape Archaeology
  • History of crop and cultivated plants
  • Interactive human-environment-relationships
  • Vegetational history

The geographical focus of these topics, within Europe, are specifically the lowlands of Northern Germany, including Marsch and Geest and the loess regions of Central Germany, as well as the Middle East, the Near East and South East Asia with a special focus on Indonesia.


The determining methods of her own research and teachings are:

  • Archaeobotany: carbonised and non-carbonised fossilized botanical remains
  • Palynology: pollen, spores, algae and macroremains from sediment and peat cores from Central Europe, the Mediterranean and South East Asia-Indonesia
  • Anthracology: Macro- and Microremains from archaeological excavations and sediment cores


Full member of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI); Elected member of the Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK) of the DAI, Elected member of the Archäologische Kommission für Niedersachsen e.V.; Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft e.V., Hannover; Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Schleswig-Holstein; Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA), UK;