History of the Institute

Museum für Vaterländische Altertümer in Kiel (Falckstraße 21, 1930er Jahre). G. Schwantes, Festschrift zur Hundertjahrfeier des Museums Vorgeschichtlicher Altertümer in Kiel (Neumünster i. H. 1936). Vorsatz
Museum for National Relics ("Museum für Vaterländische Altertümer") in Kiel, Kattenstraße (Schwantes 1936)


Johanna Mestorf

The Museum of National Relics ("Museum vaterländischer Altertümer"), established in 1836, was more than a provincial museum, it also served as the Universities' Institute. The name Johanna Mestorf (1829-1909) is closely linked with this museum and with Prehistoric Research in Schleswig-Holstein. She had been custodian to the museum since 1873, and in 1891 she became the first woman in Prussia to be placed at the head of a state museum and of a Universities' Institute. In 1899 she was appointed professor. In 1929 Gustav Schwantes became director of the museum. After the establishment of a teachership for Pre- and Protohistory in 1937 his duties also included teaching as a proper professor at Kiel University.

National Socialism

Out of the networks formed during  the 1920s, a pre- and protohistoric archaeology took root in the 1930s, which not only had strong connections to the National Socialist movement, but with its interpretive models it became a key contributor for the legitimisation of the race- and settlement policies of the „Third Reich“. An extensive account can be found here (Kieler_Schule_1927-1945.pdf).

After the Second World War

After the Second World War an independant department was established when the museum - its buildings completely destroyed – was moved to Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig. In 1947, Ernst Sprockhoff succeeded Schwantes in running  the Institute. He, in turn, was succeeded by Georg Kossack, Hermann Hinz, Bernhard Hänsel, Michael Müller-Wille and Alfred Haffner. Since 1965 the discipline has had 2 professors, each representing in research and teachings either Prehistory or Protohistory.

Present Day

In 2003, Ulrich Müller was appointed to the Faculty Chair of „Historic Archaeology“ and in 2004 Johannes Müller was appointed to the Faculty Chair of Prehistory.  In addition, Claus von Carnap is full Professor for Pre- and Protohistory and Manfred Gläser represents the field of „Urban Archaeology“ as an honorary professor. Emphasis was put on Scientific Archaeology  in 2008/09 with the appointment of professorships for Environmental Archaeology (Wiebke Kirleis) and Archaeozoology  (Cheryl A. Makarewicz). As a member of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities as well as of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences this emphasis on the scientific method has been formalized.  For several decades now this special profile consisting of the combination of scientific methods and cultural studies has been in place.