The Biblical Archaeological Institute Wuppertal (BAI) was established in 1999 by the Protestant Church of the Rhineland. It constitutes an institute of the university "Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal" as well as an associated institute of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal and holds the right to award doctorates at both universities.
The necessary financial endowment is provided by a Circle Of Friends (e.V.).
Since 1999 four main foci of research are being pursued.
- Excavation projects (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean),
- The application of modern methods in Archaeology
- Archaeometrics (chemical and mineralogical pottery analysis; experimental firing of pottery); thereby the main interest is to write a history of pottery production in the destination area),
- Experimental Archaeology (Production of pottery replicas in historically correct manufacturing methods).
Main archaeological projects
- Villa Hadriana (Italy) 2002–2004
- Geophysical prospection in Olympia (Greece) 2001
- Esch-Schallaf (Jordan) 1998–1999
- Ba'ja I close to Petra (Jordan) 1999
- Sal (Jordan) 1999–2000
The Gadara Region Project and the Tall Zira'a
Since 2001 the institutes research focuses on the exploration of the Gadara region. The largest site in the area is the Tall Zira'a which comprises over 5000 years of settlement history. At this place in 2001 a survey was conducted. In 2003 started the first excavations a long term project which is scheduled until 2015. Since 2004 the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology Amman is a partner of the project. Since 2006 the corresponding institute in Jerusalem participates likewise.
On the Tall Zira'a settlements from over more than five millennia are being excavated. Furthermore, the agricultural potential as well as flora and fauna, geology, hydrology, trade relations (roads, infrastructure) and the strategically importance of the Wadi el-Arab are being explored.
25 sqkm of the Wadi el-'Arab (south of the antique city of Gadara) are currently under research. In this area exist more than 100 sites which date from prehistory to the classical period.
Under aid of archaeometrical means the artefacts from the Zira'a are being examined concerning their respective materials. Thereby, the research concentrates on pottery to gain insight on the possible location of production sites and the technical state of affairs.
The research described above goes hand in hand with experimental archaeology, which rein acts old techniques of constructing a potters oven and firing the products.
The geophysical prospection of the Zira'a used geoelectrical Mapping, two-dimensional tomography and three-dimensional tomographical techniques to
- plan archaeological excavations in advance as exact as possible and devise appropriate methods of excavation,
- acquire knowledge concerning unexcavated areas and
- protect large future excavations areas for generations to come in an undisturbed state.
The first Director of the Biblical Archaeological Institute is Dieter Vieweger who was appointed in 1999. Since November 2005 he is also the Director of the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem and Amman.
Location Wuppertal University (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
On 13 July 2003 the move-in of the BAI in the facilities of the Bergische Universität, Campus Freudenberg was ceremonially solemnized.
The BAI on the Campus Freudenberg of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal can easily be reached by car via A 1, A 46 and L 418. Public transport is being provided from Wuppertal central station by Bus "E". The institute is located on the 3rd floor of building FD.
- Homepage Biblical Archaeological Institute Wuppertal
- German Protestant Institute of Archaeology, Research Unit of the German Archaeological Institute