Cultural heritage focuses on processes of exchange and relationships within Europe. Various projects examine Europe’s rich cultural heritage, among them the exhibition “Restless Times. Archaeology in Germany,” on show at Berlin’s Gropius Bau museum from September 21 to January 6, 2019.
From the Stone Age to the 20th century, more than 1,000 exhibits showcase the most spectacular archaeological finds of the past 20 years, organized in separate sections: mobility, conflict, exchange and innovation.
It’s not motionlessness that dominates history, says Matthias Wemhoff, it is rather marked by “extreme change.”
For one, mobility or migration’s contribution to the continent’s history is undeniable, the archaeologist and director of Berlin’s Museum of Prehistory and Early History told DW. The Europeans’ genetic pool is a result of three or four major migration moves, he added.
Then, there was also trade: “Exotic things and luxury goods have always been an attraction,” the archaeology expert said.
Third, developments were reinforced by the exchange of ideas, for instance cultural or technological innovation. “Ideas travel the quickest,” noted Wemhoff.
The exhibition shows clearly that people should not think a country can close itself off and just “do its own thing,” he said. “That has never worked.”
It always takes exchange and interaction for cultures to develop, Wemhof argued, adding that this is an “important and reassuring realization.”
Archaeology, the museum director concludes, is relevant for present society because it shows that mankind has always dealt with similar challenges, millennia ago and today. That, he said, is worth having a closer look at.