The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

A meeting of minds

For its 190th anniversary, the DAI hosted an event in Berlin where its branches around the world gathered to present their most innovative projects. Many had unique visual aids, including 3D renderings of projects and even virtual reality installations, while others showed films of their discoveries, such as this spectacular wooden tomb complex from 1800 B.C. unearthed by the DAI in Luxor in 2004.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

A long-term project in Egypt

For 50 years, the Cairo office of the German Archaeological institute (DAI) and Swiss partners have been carrying out excavations on the Egyptian island of Elephantine (above). With finds of clay, pottery, bone, stone and organic materials, the collaboration shows how much knowledge a long-term project can unearth. The team also helped restore the damaged beard on the mask of King Tutankhamun.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

Open-source history

The Palmyra GIS project explores what can happen when years of data about Palmyra, Syria, are presented digitally and made publicly available online. The DAI has digitized maps and other information to show how the city has changed over time. It also works with students in Lebanon to transfer information to the region. Pictured is data from the program projected on a 3D model of the actual site.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

Bring up the lions

Among other things, the Rome branch of the institute has researched one of the Colosseum's wilder technical aspects: the contraptions used to lift animals to the arena to meet their gladiator foes. The group recently did a project that recreated the "elevators" from a series of lifts and pulleys, which brought the beasts up from their holding areas under the famous fighting ring.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

Ancient Chinese fashion

These pants discovered by the DAI's Beijing branch wouldn't look entirely out of place in today's fashion world. They belong to a collection of items worn between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago that were unearthed in west China, where the dry climate helped preservation. The pair of pants shown is a reproduction of the original and demonstrates the intricate weaving techniques used back then.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

An ancient melody

The Seikilos stone (standing left) is inscribed with one of the world’s oldest melodies. Written by a man named Seikilos and discovered in present-day Turkey, it bears a poem and composition notated in ancient Greek. It was part of the "Archaeomusica" project, in which DAI archaeologists, musicians and others presented reproductions of Europe's oldest musical instruments.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

Assistance from above

The DAI is working on a project in southern Hungary that makes use of the latest drone developments. It focuses on "tell" sites, mounds that form when years of settlements are built on top of one another, in this case from the Bronze and Neolithic Ages. Photos and videos taken by the drones help archaeologists make 3D models so as to better understand the landscape around these sites.

The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years

Let the games begin

Many of the DAI projects focus on the world's most famous historical sites, such as Olympia on the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, the site of the first Olympic games way back in 776 B.C. This digital drawing shows the finished interior of the Leonidaion, the complex's largest guest house, as it will once reconstruction is completed.

From Cairo to Beijing, the DAI's branches presented their latest research in Berlin in May 2019 to celebrate nearly two centuries of work. Here are some favorites, from drone data-gathering to ancient Roman elevators.

Discover more

German News Service