We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Do You agree?

Read more

I.3.10. Preparation and launching of an interdisciplinary research and teaching project Archeooriental Studies – info

IDUB Programme Objective(s)

  • Increasing the impact of research activity at the University on the development of world science
  • Strengthening research cooperation with internationally renowned scientific institutions, especially in the priority research areas (POB)
  • Improving the quality of education for students and doctoral candidates in fields related to the priority research areas (POB)
  • Raising the international significance of the University

Name of POB/activity group



The aim of the activity is to prepare and implement interdisciplinary research on ancient cultures by combining research on artefacts (archaeology) and texts (Oriental studies). The interdisciplinary approach will allow for reconstructions of different aspects of ancient cultures and will contribute to a deeper understanding of what mankind is, among various cultural, social, and environmental entanglements.

Assumptions and justification

The activity is based on two assumptions. The first is that whenever we explain how societies functioned in the past, it is essential to combine various, hitherto separately applied methodologies to the examination of cultural artefacts. These artefacts may differ significantly in character and meaning, covering such phenomena as broadly-understood objects (buildings, objects of everyday use, manuscripts, etc.) as well as communicative symbols (graphic/non-linguistic and linguistic); therefore, in each case, research methods must be adapted to the type of information and the research question posed. Each methodology opens up a different perspective and understanding of the subject, and a combination of methods allows for a more holistic approach. Archaeological, cognitive and textological methods and theories will be used, along with field research, augmented by the use of new technologies. According to the second assumption, what we know about the past of a given culture has a significant impact on the understanding of its current situation. The importance of archaeo-oriental research cannot be overestimated when trying to understand the thinking and behaviour of non-European cultures with (and among which) intercultural understanding is often difficult or even impossible: the reasons for this lie in traditions, and are stored in cultural signs and texts.

Specific objectives

The aim of the activity is to prepare and launch interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects which will address research synchronously and diachronically, concerning expressions of human thought and culture with scientific potential and cultural/social significance. Initial research will address selected issues relevant to the study of human history, where UW-affiliated researchers are already present (e.g., Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Armenia), with the possibility of broadening their scope as cooperation develops. As a result, an international research network will be established, which will include the world’s leading scientific centres in the above-mentioned areas (including archaeology, oriental studies, cognitive linguistics, history, art history, religious studies, sociology, political science, non-verbal communication systems, and neuroscience). A major advantage of UW in this respect is its outstanding archaeological researchers and Orientalists, whose fields of scholarship overlap territorially and/or thematically. A key element of the strategy is to attract competent researchers from the regions where the studies are being conducted. Support for this work will be provided by the University Research Stations and scholars already carrying out projects in the Middle East and Africa, which on the one hand will greatly facilitate the search for the most suitable candidates to guarantee a high level of research and, on the other, involve those who are already part of research networks in the same regions. Cooperation is also envisaged with countries where archaeology is developing, and where cooperation is not yet well-developed (e.g., India, or Central Asian countries). A network based on research teams operating in various universities should be able to obtain grants in 2021 and 2022.

An important aspect of this activity is the development of research infrastructure for specialised, interdisciplinary research. The current potential of archaeology and oriental studies at the University of Warsaw will be consolidated and developed on the basis of new technologies, but selected areas of specialised analyses need further development. There are plans to create a microscopic laboratory for analysis of archaeological artefacts, and to expand the bioarcheological laboratory. High-quality equipment will enable researchers to work with a wide spectrum of artefacts from various raw materials (e.g., stone, metal, wood, bone, antlers, leather, and textiles), to identify traces of use (functional analysis), methods of production (technological analysis) and disposition (taphonomic analysis). In addition to equipment, an important aspect in the development of the laboratory will be supporting activities in the dissemination of research results and improving the competences of the employees, trainees, and students associated with the laboratory. This also applies to researchers from other institutions who are doing internships or study stays at the University.

The activity includes sub-projects; however, the starting point and the central concept will be the “Power Systems” project (working title). The objective is to examine how the concept of power has been created in selected areas of ancient and modern cultures. Nonverbal signs (archaeological artefacts and other non-linguistic signs) and texts will be the source of the research. We are interested in reconstructing ways of thinking about power and its social expressions. Both of these tasks are made possible through an interdisciplinary analysis of signs.

The project will be implemented in two ways: in terms of the time of creation of the artefacts studied – old sources, preserved in archaeological artefacts and texts, and contemporary sources (non-verbal texts and signs, both objects and human behaviour). An interdisciplinary approach (through archaeology, history, sociology, political science, cognitive linguistics, and neuroscience) will allow an understanding of the cultural conditions for the concept of power and its social expressions, as well as the continuation of certain forms of thought and culture.

One of the basic strategies of the activity is publication, with requirements and support for publishing research results in the form of articles associated with the University of Warsaw in recognisable, highly-scored journals. It should be stressed that the proposed combination of research fields will broaden the group of potential addressees of publications and will accordingly increase the range of journals to which articles may be submitted.

Specific tasks

  • purchasing research equipment and organising laboratories;
  • forming a team for interdisciplinary, archaeo-oriental studies;
  • organising research exchange and building research teams;
  • supporting the development of research projects, field studies, and scientific publications;
  • employing laboratory workers and researchers from outside UW (doctoral, post-doctoral);
  • organising scientific conferences related to archaeo-oriental studies.

Coordinating units

  • Faculty of Oriental Studies
  • Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology
  • Faculty of Archaeology

Entities involved in implementation

  • Faculty of Oriental Studies
  • Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology
  • Faculty of Archaeology