FAU’s Prehistory and Protohistory Collection
The Pre- and Early History Collection was developed from private collections belonging to the anatomist Leo Gerlach and the priest Rudolf Herold which were combined at the Institute of Anatomy in 1914. The collection played a key role in establishing the academic study of pre- and early history in Erlangen. It received its first curator, Rudolf Paulsen, in 1933, a corresponding department was set up in 1941 and an institute was established in 1941. One of the reasons that the subject became established so quickly was its relevance for Nazi racial ideology, which encouraged the study of the ‘pre-history’ of races.
In 1957, the collection was relocated to the seminar building of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology on Kochstraße. Since then it has developed into one of the largest university pre-history collections in Germany thanks to purchases, donations and additions from excavations.
In addition to individual objects from the period between the Stone Age and the Middle Ages, the collection includes the complete archaeological inventories from important excavations of Palaeolithic sites in Bavaria, such as the excavations of Sesselfelsgrotte and the cave ruins in Hunas. The collection is used for teaching purposes and by a research group called Vorzeitkiste from the field of museum education. In addition, objects from the collection are regularly presented to the public in exhibitions at the Institute.
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte
Tours available upon request