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Classical Archaeology


The imagery of Greek and Roman Antiquity, the border regions of the Roman Empire, the communication of Antiquity in museum contexts, and the use of digital techniques in cultural sciences – these are our focal points in research and teaching here at the Department of Archaeology.

In our team, we combine extensive expertise in the development of image-scientific methods with many years of experience in field research, in the use of a broad technology spectrum in the field, as well as in museum and object-related teaching.

Our enthusiasm for classical archaeology in its various facets and practical innovation in interdisciplinary cooperation beyond the boundaries of our field is reflected in our wide range of courses, in which problem-oriented teaching and effective preparation for future occupational fields play a particularly important role. 

Are you interested in studying Classical Archaeology at Bachelor-, Master- or PhD level? Contact us: 

Our people


Collection of Antiquities

Collection of Antiquities


Study with us


We explore the history of Greece and Rome through their material cultures in all their facets: from studying objects of everyday life and artworks to unearthing new finds at archaeological sites and curating artefacts in the JLU ancient art collection.

Our modules offer the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of all aspects of archaeological work – with our team as well as in collaboration with our national and international partners.

If you are interested in studying or pursuing a research degree with us, please contact:

For our current activities and other news, please visit us on social media


What our students and alumni say

Studying Classical Archaeology at Undergraduate and Masters at JLU Giessen [Link youtube]

Studying Classical Civilizations at Undergraduate at JLU Giessen [Link youtube]

Careers to pursue after your degree [Link youtube]

Courses & degrees

Classical Archaeology (within the degree course Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften) at B.A./M.A. level

Classical Archaeology (within the degree course Kultur der Antike) at B.A. level

Dr. phil.


Projects & Research



The Archaeological Library is located in Philosophikum I in rooms D12, 13, and 16.

It consists of about 15,000 monographs and about 100 journals from all subjects of Classical Archaeology.

The library is a reference library. Books cannot be borrowed.

Exceptions for borrowing books over the weekend are only possible upon consultation with the lecturers of the institute.

If you have any questions, please contact the library assistant or .


History of Classical Archaeology in Giessen

Archaeology as a subject has a long tradition in Giessen. Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker (1784-1868) founded a chair for “Greek Literature and Archaeology” as early as 1809. It is the first time the term “archaeology” appears in Germany for the designation of a chair. However, the subject is strongly philological oriented, and as early as 1812, an independent Philological Seminar was founded thanks to Welcker’s engagement. In 1816 Welcker went to the University of Göttingen, in 1819 to Bonn. The collection of castings he set up there, led to the establishment of an “Academic Museum of Art” in Giessen in 1826, which was renamed the “Cabinet of art, Coins and Antiquities” in 1835.

Little is known about the inventory of the cabinet due to the loss of all archive papers during the Second World War. Apart from the collection of coins from the 18th century, it also consolidates, among others, Lippert’s Dactyliotheca, which has survived to this day, and a number of castings of ancient sculptures. Although the collection was used extensively for drawing exercises, there was no true continuity for archaeological teaching until the end of the 19th century. In 1887, Ferdinand Dümmler (1859-1896) came to Giessen and habilitated here after many years in Greece and Italy.

However, he had almost no opportunity to work archaeologically but held mainly lectures and seminars in Ancient Philology instead. In 1889 Dümmler was appointed associate professor, but as early as in 1890 he accepted a call to Basel.

The habilitation of Bruno Sauer (1861-1919) in 1892 constituted the actual foundation of Classical Archaeology in Giessen. As a private lecturer, Sauer also supervised the collection of antiquities, which since 1898 bears the name “Archaeological Institute”. In the same year, Sauer became a tenured professor and represented not only Classical Archaeology but also the History of Arts. Only when he accepted a call to Kiel in 1909, the subjects Classical Archaeology and History of Arts were split into two chairs. Sauer has made a great contribution to the Collection of Antiquities. Most of today’s inventory was incorporated into the collection through purchases and donations under his ordinariate. He also expanded the collection of castings systematically; however, this section of the collection was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. After Sauer accepted the call to the University of Kiel in 1909, it was Carl Watzinger (1877-1948), who came to Giessen from Rostock and taught here until 1916. Under his leadership, the young institute kept growing. Watzinger continued to expand the Collection of Antiquities and had the collection of castings restored and rearranged. His successor was Gerhart Rodenwaldt (1886-1945) who had previously been Georg Loeschke’s assistant in Berlin. Margarete Bieber filled in for him for some time there when he was conscripted in the First World War. Rodenwaldt and Bieber were together on the travel grant of the German Archaeological Institute in 1909/10, and when Rodenwaldt was called to Giessen in 1916 - not taking office until 1917 because of the turmoil of the war– he advocated for Margarete Bieber who became the first woman to habilitate in Giessen in 1919. In 1922 Rodenwaldt was appointed General Secretary (President) of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. His successor was Richard Delbrueck (1875-1957), who had been the director of the DAI in Rome until 1915. Under Delbrueck, Margarete Bieber (1879-1978) was appointed associate professor.

When Delbrueck followed a call to Bonn in 1928, however, the Ordinariate was cancelled from financial reasons, and Bieber was charged with substituting it. Bieber was no longer able to take on the ordinariate promised to her in the fall of 1933, as she was let go in the spring of 1933 because of her Jewish descent.

Through England, she emigrated into the USA, where she worked until old age. As a late redemption, Margarete Bieber was named honorary senator of the University Giessen in 1957. After Bieber’s dismissal in 1933, it was initially Hans Möbius who represented the Classical Archaeology for one semester, until Walter-Herwig Schuchhardt, who had habilitated in Frankfurt and covered for Hans Schrader there, came to Giessen with a teaching assignment. Schuchhardt followed a call to Freiburg in 1936. His successor in 1937 was Willy Zschietzschmann (1900-1976) who had habilitated under Rodenwaldt in Berlin in 1932. Initially, he only taught with a teaching assignment, then as an associate professor. In 1939 Zschietzschmann was able to expand the Collection of Antiquities through acquisitions considerably. It is due to his prudence that the collection of originals survived the Second World War almost without any losses and remained in possession of the university afterwards. After the war, Zschietzschmann was entrusted with the provisional administration of the institute and received a lectureship until 1969. Only in 1964, the Institute, then called “Department for Classical Archaeology,” was occupied again. In just a few years, Walter Hatto Gross (1913-1984) laid the foundation for a viable institute, not least thanks to the support of his assistant Siemer Oppermann, who worked in Giessen until 1999, most recently as Academic Director. Gross himself followed a call to Hamburg in 1968. His successor was Hans-Günter Buchholz (1919-2011) in 1969 who taught here until 1985. Together with his assistant Wilhelm Hornbostel, he brought the scattered antiquities collection back together. The focus of his term of office was the Aegean Bronze Age, and with his many years of excavations in Tamassos, he continued the old German researches Ohnefalsch-Richter on Cyprus. Wolfram Martini (1941-2017) taught in Giessen from 1985 until 2006.

In addition to his research focus in the field of Greek sculpture and Attic vase painting, it is especially the excavations on the Acropolis of Perge (Turkey) since 1994 that characterise his research and teaching in Giessen. Since 1987, a part of the Collection of Antiquities has been publicly accessible for the first time in the Wallenfels House. Especially through private donations, Martini has until recently been able to expand the Collection of Antiquities significantly, so that it also plays an important role in teaching.

Anja Klöckner succeeded Wolfram Martini in April 2007. She followed a call to Frankfurt/Main in 2016. Her successor is Katharina Lorenz, previously a professor in Nottingham, who assumed office in 2018.

  •  Literature

M. Recke, Die Klassische Archäologie in Gießen. 100 Jahre Antikensammlung. (Classical Archaeology in Giessen. 100 years Collection of Antiquities). Studia Giessensia 9 (2000)


“Ancestral Portrait Gallery” (german)

ahnengalerie_welcker ahnengalerie_duemmler ahnengalerie_sauer ahnengalerie_watzinger
F. G. Welcker
Ferdinand Dümmler
Bruno Sauer
Carl Watzinger
ahnengalerie_rodenwaldt ahnengalerie_delbrueck ahnengalerie_bieber ahnengalerie_schuchardt
Gerhart Rodenwaldt
Richard Delbrück 
Margarete Bieber 
W.-H. Schuchhardt 
ahnengalerie_zschietzmann ahnengalerie_gross ahnengalerie_buchholz ahnengalerie_martini
Willy Zschietzschmann 
Walter Hatto Gross 
Hans-Günter Buchholz 
Wolfram Martini
Anja Klöckner