Barbara Zach

Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

Barbara Zach is the director of the Archäobotanik Laboratory in Bernbeuren and has more than three decades of experience conducting archaeobotanical research across Europe, as well the Mediterranean, and North Africa. She is currently working with the MPI SHH and Friedrich Schiller University as the project archaeobotanist on the Kuckenburg project. She is focusing on the study of the paleoeconomy of the Bronze Age occupants of the Kuckenburg site in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. As the archaeobotanist, her main task is the quantification and identification of ancient fruit and seed remains from bulk samples, which were taken by the archaeologist during several campaigns up to 2020. She is linking aspects of the dietary economy to cultural affiliations and seeks to better understand the development of cuisine through time. Crops and the behaviors of their famers tell us about the soil conditions and land, where the plant resources were grown, as well as about the people’s food situation. Barbara Zach is particularly interested in the arrival of new crops at the site over time. The question of the reason for the adoption of broomcorn millet in the late Bronze Age in Europe will be one theme for her to work on, with the Kuckenburg site representing a key case study. She is especially interested in cooperation with colleagues doing research on ancient DNA on the skeletons, working with isotope analyses, and proteomics at this site. She wants to amend her research with the contribution of Big Data and statistical approaches, through the IsoMemo initiative. The special conditions of conservation of this Bronze Age site and the huge interdisciplinary options the MPI SHH at Jena offers open a wide field for understanding the transformation processes and influences, humans had to the landscape and vice versa.


Curriculum Vitae

Barbara Zach held a research fellowship at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, where she studied medieval archaeobotany and worked on material from three ancient towns. She also was awarded fellowships at Goethe University in Frankfurt, where she was concerned with pioneering research in archaeobotany in West Africa and the University zu Koeln as an archaeobotanist for African archaeobotany in Egypt and the Sudan. After these fellowships, she started her career as a freelance archaeobotanist in Bavaria. She runs her own laboratory and research facility. With a special interest in the Bronze Age, she then was given the opportunity to deepen this theme and her expertise at the IMPRS in the archaeological project at the Kuckenburg site. Her research is embedded in a collaboration between Friedrich Schiller University and the MPI SHH. She is also a collaborator on the European Research Council grant, FEDD, Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal, where is she further exploring the spread of millets across Eurasia. Barbara holds a diploma in Biology with Botany as major subject from the University of Hohenheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.


Publications

Zach, B. & Kutscher, S. 2017: Säen, Ernten, Kochen: Die verkohlten Pflanzenreste von Oberding. In: Spangenbarrenhort Oberding. Gebündelt und vergraben - ein rätselhaftes Kupferdepot der Frühbronzezeit. Museum Erding Schriften 2, 208-213.

Zach, B. 2017: Pflanzenreste erzählen die Geschichte vom Leben am Donauufer in Ingolstadt des 15. bis 16. Jahrhunderts. Sammelblatt des Historischen Vereins Ingolstadt, 126. Jahrgang 2017, 391-406.

Zach, B., O’Neill, A., Berg-Hobohm, S. 2016: Verkohlte Pflanzenreste aus einer Vorratsgrube und Gruben der linearbandkeramischen Siedlung bei Bad Staffelstein-Stadel. Berichte Bayerische Bodendenkmalpflege 57, 27-39.

Zach, B. 2016: Vom Altwasserarm zum überbauten Graben. Ergebnisse der archäobotanischen Untersuchung in der Altstadt Ingolstadts, Wagnerwirtsgasse 3. In: Archäologie Aktuell – Ausgrabungen in Ingolstadt. Begleitband zur Ausstellung im Stadtmuseum Ingolstadt. Dokumentation zur Stadtgeschichte Band 10. Hrsg. Stadtmuseum Ingolstadt, 83-90.

Zach, B. 2016: Von Straßenbauern, Heilkundigen und Feinschmeckern. Denkmalpflege Informationen 164, 36-39 (www.blfd.bayern.de, download area, Publikationsreferat).

Mischka, D., Schirmer, W., Zach, B. 2015: Vorbericht zu den Feldforschungen in der linearbandkeramischen Siedlung von Ebermannstadt-Eschlipp, Lkr. Forschheim (Oberfranken). Bayerische Vorgeschichtsblätter 80, 7-37.

Jung, R., Pacciarelli, M., Zach, B. Klee, M., Thanheiser U. 2015: Punta di Zambrone (Calabria) – a Bronze Age Harbour Site. First Preliminary Report on the Recent Bronze Age (2011–2012 Campaigns). Archaeologia Austriaca, Band 99/2015, 53–110. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien. doi: 10.1553/archaeologia99s53

Zach, B. 2013: Archäobotanik in der Umweltbildung. In: Von Sylt bis Kastanas. Festschrift für Helmut Johannes Kroll. Berichte und Mitteilungen zur Urgeschichte, Frühgeschichte und Mittelalterarchäologie. Offa 69/70 2012/2013, 35-41.

Zach, B. 2012: Bronzezeitliche Getreide- und Hülsenfruchtvorräte vom Kathreinkogel, Kärnten. In: Spurensuche auf dem Kathreinkogel. Archäologie Alpen Adria Band 5. Hrsg: Historischer Verein Schiefling-Velden-Rosegg, 131-141.

Fries, H., Zach, B. 2012: "Sieh wie fein brennt Pasewalk". Ein historisches Ereignis und seine Hinterlassenschaft. Archäologische Berichte aus Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 19, 2012, 189-194.

Zach, B. 2012: Archäobotanische Studien in Karthago. Pflanzenreste aus zwei punischen Amphoren und einer römischen Sickergrube. In: Karthago IV. Ed: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Berlin.

Zach, B.; Knipping, M.; Pütz, A. 2010: Hallstattzeitliche Pflanzenreste aus einem Brunnen bei Aschheim. Berichte Bayerische Bodendenkmalpflege, Band 51, 2010.

Zach, B. 2008: Resti vegetali dall’età di Augusto all‘età antonina. In: Filippi, Fedora, Hrsg.: Horti et sordes. Uno scavo alle falde del Gianicolo. Rom 2008, 420-429.

Stika, H.-P., Heiss, A. G., Zach, B. 2008: Plant remains from the early Iron Age in western Sicily: differences in subsistence strategies of Greek and Elymian sites. Vegetation History an Archaeobotany. Online Version: DOI 10.1007/s00334-008-
0171-9.

Klee, M.; Zach, B., Stika, H.-P. 2004: Four thousand years of plant exploitation in the Lake Chad Basin (Nigeria), part III: plant impressions in potsherds from the Final Stone Age Gajiganna Culture. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 13: 131-142.

Zach, B. & Klee, M. 2003: Four thousand years of plant exploitation in the Chad Basin of NE Nigeria II: discussion on the morphology of caryopses of domesticated Pennisetum and complete catalogue of the fruits and seeds of Kursakata. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 12: 187-204.

Zach, B. 2003: 7500 years old imprints of Panicum turgidum in an Saharan potsherd. In: Neumann, Butler and Kahlheber (eds.) Food, Fuel and Fields. Progress in African Archaeobotany. Africa Praehistorica 15: 123-128.

Zach, B. 2002: Vegetable offerings on the Roman sacrificial site in Mainz, Germany – short report on the first results. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 11: 101-106.

Wenzel, S., Krauskopf, C., Winkelmann, A., Zach, B. 2002: Auswertung der Pflanzenabdrücke in Hüttenlehm. In: Zwei spätmittelalterliche Hausbefunde der Dorfwüstung Pagram bei Frankfurt (Oder). Archäologisches Korrespondenzbrlatt 32,3, 457-468. 

Zach, B., Melisch, C.: Bericht über die archäobotanischen Untersuchungen an Proben der Grabungskampagnen APU 1998 und APU 1999 (2001) http://www2.hu-berlin.de/winckelmann/apulum_index.html.

Klee, M., Zach, B., Neumann, K. 2000: Four thousand years of plant exploitation in the Chad Basin of northeast Nigeria I: The archaeobotany of Kursakata. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 9, 223-237.

Klee, M. & Zach, B. 1999: The exploitation of wild and domesticated food plants at settlement mounds in North-east Nigeria (1800 cal BC to today). In: van der Veen, M. (ed.) The exploitation of plant resources in ancient Africa. Plenum, New York, 81-88.

Gronenborn, D.; Wiesmüller, B.; Skorupinski, T., Zach, B. 1996: Settlement History of the Kala-Balge Region of Borno State, Nigeria. Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268, 8, Frankfurt a.M., 201-213.

Zach, B., Kirscht, H., Löhr, D., Neumann, K., Platte, E. 1996: Masakwa dry Season cropping in the Chad basin. Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268, 8, Frankfurt a.M. 1996: 349-356.

Zach, B. 1993: Kulturpflanzenfunde. Eine Rekonstruktion der pflanzlichen Ernährung vom 11. bis zum 16. Jahrhundert. In: Geschichte aus Gruben und Scherben. Archäologische Ausgrabungen auf dem Domberg in Bamberg. Schriften Historisches Museum Bamberg Nr. 26, 153-158.

Zach, B. 1992: Aufschlußreiche Pflanzenreste aus einer mittelalterlichen Faßlatrine in Ingolstadt. Sammelblatt Historischer Verein Ingolstadt 100, 1991, 157-174.


Research projects

  • The late Bronze Age Kuckenburg site in Sachsen-Anhalt, collaboration project with Friedrich Schiller University, Professor Dr. Peter Ettel. 

  • Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal, FEDD Research Group, Dr. Robert Spengler.

  • The IsoMemo initiative for Big Data collection, Dr. Ricardo Fernandes.

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