Summer School

Bridging Archaeogenetics and Medieval Studies:

Using aDNA as a source for migration, demographics, kinship and pathology

23-27 September 2024

Venue: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Jägerstr. 22-23, 10117 Berlin (with a day trip to MPI EVA, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, on 25 September)

Conveners: Center for Medieval Studies at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) & Department of Archaeogenetics at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (MPI EVA)

Organizers: Dr. Jörg Feuchter (BBAW) and Dr. Stephan Schiffels (MPI EVA)

Application deadline: 30 April 2024

Target group: M.A. students and junior PhD/doctoral students from History, Biology, Archaeology and other Natural Sciences and Humanities

Teaching Language: English

Concept: In the age of the „ancientDNA-revolution“, archaeogenetic research institutes are nowadays routinely analysing samples from all periods of the human past, not the least from medieval times. Sometimes the scientific objective of the analysis resides primarily in the realm of History/Archaeology; sometimes the questions asked are of a biological nature; in other instances there is a mix of both. A rapidly growing and highly promising field of more or less intertwined genetic, historical, and archaeological knowledge production is developing, and the Middle Ages have become relevant to Genetics, as well as vice versa. Yet, true interdisciplinary cooperation remains rare, and there is much mutual distrust, misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. The Interdisciplinary Summer School „Bridging Archaeogenetics and Medieval Studies“ will bring together students from History, Biology, Archaeology and other relevant disciplines in order to familiarize them with the use of a(ncient)DNA as a source for migration, demographics, kinship and pathology in the Middle Ages. The Summer School will provide a general introduction to the scientific methods, both in theory and practice. In addition, participants will be given the opportunity to learn about a particular ongoing research project, „Migration and Urban Demographics in the Berlin-Brandenburg Area during the High Middle Ages“, in which many among the teaching staff are involved. Participants will be able to learn how the methods are applied to a concrete case study, to discuss with scientists cooperating in an ongoing research project, and to participate in interdisciplinary exchanges around specific problems. This interaction will help to develop critical engagement with the sometimes fundamentally different general approaches of scientists and scholars in the humanities.

Speakers include:

Kirsten Bos (MPI EVA; )

Stefan Burmeister (Varusschlacht Kalkriese, )

Jörg Feuchter (BBAW, )

Patrick Geary (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; )

Joscha Gretzinger (MPI EVA; )

Alexander Herbig (MPI EVA; )

Zuzana Hofmanová (MPI EVA; )

Claudia M. Melisch (Melisch Archäologie, Berlin; )

Michael Nothnagel (University of Cologne; )

Harald Ringbauer (MPI EVA; )

Stephan Schiffels (MPI EVA; )


Fees: There is no fee. However, participants must cover their own accommodation and travel expenses for travelling to and from Berlin, as well as for the day trip to Leipzig. A number of inexpensive accommodations are available at the guesthouse of Humboldt University. They can be booked through the organizers.

Application details: Your application should include the following:

1. Letter of motivation (one page, outlining why you are interested in participating in the Summer School and what you are expecting from it)

2. Curriculum Vitae (one page)

3. Scan of B.A. or M.A. diploma (or equivalent)

All three elements must be merged into a single PDF document.

Please let us know in your application if you are interested in residing at the guesthouse of Humboldt University during the Summer School (single bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities, cost: about 300 EUR for six nights from 22 to 27 September)

Please send your application to

Preliminary Program:

Among the topics to be taught at the Summer School are:

Introduction to population genetics

Detecting migration and kinship through aDNA

Introduction to the questions and methods of medieval history and to the challenges of interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages

Introduction to the archaeology of migration, kinship and gender

Field trip to excavation site in Berlin

Detecting pathogens through aDNA


The Summer School will begin on 23 September, 9.30 a.m. and end on 27 September, 3 p.m.





































Dr. Jörg Feuchter
Regesta Imperii - Regesten Kaiser Friedrichs III.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 20370 470 
Jägerstraße 22/23
10117 Berlin
© 2024 Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften