The unit archaeometry deals with the application of analytical scientific methods for the study of archaeological finds in order to determine their use, production method and location. Regional and supra-regional exchange networks and trade relations can be reconstructed through the determination of the production locations. Here, the comparison with geological maps, raw material samples, local reference materials (e.g. wasters), and archaeometric databases are of importance.
The production methods and, in particular, the homogeneity, carefulness, and functionality of the individual technological processes that reach from the extraction of the raw materials through processes of their manipulation to the finished artifacts (chaîne opératoire) provide information on the degree and form of craft specialization and standardization. These factors are indicators of commercial, cultural, and political developments.
The applied methods were developed in the natural sciences in the fields of mathematics, chemistry, and physics and are selected based on the questions and properties of the materials and their find contexts. They encompass non-destructive as well as destructive analyses in order to study the compositional (bulk and in situ), morphological and structural compositions of the materials. An emphasis of the unit is the study of technological aspects over long time periods and/or with macro-regional dissemination in order to explore mechanisms of knowledge transfer, innovation, and traditions.
Thanks to its incorporation in an archaeological institute and cooperation with national and international experts of various disciplines, the current projects cover a wide chronological, geographical, and methodological spectrum and permits the development of innovative archaeometric applications with wide-ranging archaeological questions.