ARKUM | Working Committee for Historical Cultural Landscape Research in Central Europe

ARKUM has been regarded for many decades as the central network of historical cultural landscape research in Central Europe with members from Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Russia. As a working group at the interface of archaeology, history and geography, it offers a common platform for the transdisciplinary topics of historical geography. It continues the substantive work of the Working Group for Genetic Settlement Research in Central Europe (1974-2004). 

Focus of work

The common interest of the members is characterized by five central aspects:

  • Genesis and change of the cultural landscape - by cultural landscape is meant the entire environment modified by man in historical time, including all settlement sites;
  • Historical depth - this encompasses the time span from prehistory through the Middle Ages and early modern period to the present with the goal of space-time comparisons;
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration at the interface of archaeology, history, and geography;
  • Intensive engagement with methodsand concepts of historical cultural landscape research, e.g., settlement archaeological investigations, interpretation of archival records and maps, and integration of natural history findings;
  • Inclusion of application - questions of the implementation of basic research in planning processes and environmental education are addressed by the Working Group for Applied Historical Geography.

Conferences, publications and cooperations

ARKUM creates various offers to support the scientific exchange of its members and the interested public.

  • In September of each year, the central annual conference takes place, at which current projects from research and application are presented and current developments in theories, concepts and methods of historical cultural landscape research are discussed. In addition, events of the Working Group for Applied Historical Geography as well as the Young Forum as an association of students, doctoral candidates and PostDocs in the early phase of their scientific career take place at irregular intervals.
  • Already since 1983 ARKUM publishes the series "Siedlungsforschung". Archaeology - History and Geography. The individual volumes are dedicated to thematic focus resulting from the ARKUM annual conference. Since 2022, the publication of the volume is carried out by the "Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (wbg)".
  • ARKUM also serves as a central platform for cooperation with other institutions and initiatives active in the field of cultural landscape history and preservation. From this, joint research projects are repeatedly initiated and carried out.