LeCHE  
Lactase persistence and the early Cultural History of Europe  
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REISS-ENGELHORN-MUSEEN

The Reiss-Engelhorn-MuseumsThe Reiss Engelhorn Museums are an independent and non-profit museum units consisting of three presentation forums with collection display areas as well as two scientific institutes. The REM are internationally known for their extensive archaeological exhibitions, for example about the prehistory of Japan (2004), the archaeology of Pompeii (2005) or the natural and cultural history of horses (2006). An international exhibition about the LeCHE project results is possible. The Curt Engelhorn Foundation established the Curt Engelhorn Centre for International Art and Cultural History in 2001, an important part of the REM and is also responsible for the Curt Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometrics, Affiliated Institute of the University of Tübingen. It provides the REM with a leading European laboratory for the scientific validation of cultural history exhibits. In the near future a lab for chronometry (the Klaus Tschira Center for Chronometry) will become part of the REM as well as an Affiliated Institute of the University of Heidelberg.

 

ER2 Database coordination: MU (Rosendahl)
Prof. Rosendahl
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Experienced Research 2 is responsible for the first aspect of data integration, namely creating a database from all samples analyzed within the network, hence there is collaboration with all researchers. The GIS-database (Geographical Information System) will provide access to the results of the LeCHE project to future scholars. For example, not only will details of all sites (ER1 ) bone (ESR1, ESR4, ESR6, ESR10, ESR11) and pottery (ESR2, ESR7, ESR8, ESR9) investgated be recorded , but also the percentage success and failure of the (biomolecular and isotopic) methods used, including in many cases quantification of the target (and contamination). This data will provide an unparalleled resource for understanding preservation/degradation of biomolecules in bone, teeth, pottery and soil. Geographic location and time period data in the database will be linked to the predictive modeling of ESR12 and data incorporated to constrain it and will be integrated with elevnation, soil, drift geology, geological and climatic data. The analysis and interpretation of the data will be carried out using a variety of GIS based and statistical methods (in collaboration with ESR12 and ESR13) to explore the temporal and spatial scale of the results (ESR12) and predictions of future successful biomolecular studies (ESR13). The database will be made available to the research community via hosting at the Archaeology Data Service (Prof. Julian Richards).
The directors of the Reiss Engelhorn Museums have agreed to mount an exhibition of the research findings of LeCHE. This task will form the last part of the training of ER2 working with museum staff to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of an exhibit, which will be able tour museums across Europe.

 
STAFF
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Dr. Wilfried Rosendahl is scientific Head of Collections in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim. His main research interest lies in “Man, Environment and Climate during the late Quaternary in Central Europe”. He has extensive experience as database manager of the EU funded EUQUAM-Database (European Quaternary Mammal-Database) at the Institute of Palaeontology of the University of Bonn from 1996 to 1998.

Dr. Michael Tellenbach is an archaeologist and 2nd Director of the REM. He is a specialist in the Neolithic and of the archaeology of ancient cultures in South-America. Additionally he is a member of the “Deutsches Archäologisches Institut” (German Institute of Archaeology).

Prof. Dr. Alfried Wieczorek is an archaeologist and the General Director of the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen and President of the “Deutsche Altertumsverbände”.

 
FACILITIES
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The REM has three special labs for cultural and natural conservation. The collections in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen are part of an international museums collection database (IMDAS). The methods in the lab are AMS-14C and TL.

 
REFERENCES
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1. Rosendahl G, et al., Le plus vieil arc du monde? Une pièce intéressante en provenance de Mannheim, Allemagne. (2006) L’Anthropologie 110:371 ;

2. Rosendahl W, et al., OIS 5 – OIS 8 – Numerically dated palaeontological caves sites in Central Europe. In: Sirocko et al. (Eds): The climate of past interglacials.(2007) Developments in Quaternary Science 7:455;

3. Döppes D, et al., Dated Paleontological cave sites of Central Europe from Late Middle Pleistocene to early Upper Pleistocene (OIS 6 to OIS 8). (2007) Quaternary International 8 S.