Location of the project area
The Spessart is a large, mountainous region still dominated by woodland. Together
with the Odenwald and the Rhön it forms the northern border of Southern-Germany.
In the south of the Spessart we find the river Main, which separated the Spessart
from the Odenwald in the west. The river Main provides good conditions for shipping,
and it seems like it was used -for this since the Neolithic age, giving access
to the Rhine-valley, which can otherwise be reached via various passage-ways
through the Spessart - one of these is still used today by the A 3, the most
frequented highway of Germany.
Cultural landscape: the Historical background
The Spessart was settled first at the beginning of the Neolithic period. The
human impact has changed this landscape several times, from a forested area
to a mainly agriculturally used area back to a forested area. Especially in
the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, poverty struck the area,
thus creating an image of a landscape neglected and lacking history.
The main aim is to understand the development of the landscape through history
and the mechanism of interaction between man and his environment. The project
shall also help to change the attitude of the local people toward their own
landscape, to ”give it back” its history. The results are directed
toward spatial planning and landscape management, where they shall advise and
help foster the dialogue with developers and planning institutions.
Research will be done by survey, geo-physical methods, the use of GIS, archive
studies and mapping of biological indicators for human activities. It is done
in close cooperation with universities, scientific research institutes and other
museums. Special work will be done in studying the irrigation systems in the
Communication to the public and special interest groups will be involved by
intensive press work, internet, seminars and open forums, exhibition, the construction
of physical and virtual pathways, publication of folders, lectures and preparation
of education materials for schools.
The project team is involved in the processes of spatial planning, Agenda
21 and related areas. The project shall help to foster plans of sustainable
management, cultural tourism and intelligent land use. Therefore it organizes
seminars and open discussion forums with local administrations, developers and
The Archaeological Spessart-Project
Scientific Research Institut and Museum of Nature Senckenberg
Museums of Aschaffenburg