Berlin Sculpture Network. Contextualisation and Interpretation of Ancient Sculpture

The 'Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk' project for the contextualisation and interpretation of ancient sculpture is jointly run by the Freie Universität and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and falls under the joint auspices of Prof. Johanna Fabricius (Institute of Classical Archaeology at the FU Berlin) and Prof. Andreas Scholl (Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

As part of its focus on the 'transformational function of humanities', the project received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2009 to 2012 in its funding initiative 'Freedom for Research in the Humanities'.

The project aims to digitally archive and make public images of the ancient sculptures contained at the Staatliche Museen’s Antikensammlung (around 4400 in total), as well as around 4000 modern plaster casts of ancient sculptures held in all the Staatliche Museen’s various other collections, the Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop), as well as the plaster collection of ancient sculpture at the FU and the Humboldt University’s Winckelmann Institute. The overriding scholarly concern is to concentrate on a historically differentiated reconstruction of the contexts in which the works were originally displayed, as well as on determining possible links between the works as to their spatial and functional context. This demands that digital records are also made of relevant archive material and current excavation dates and that these two sets of information are combined. The work is carried out by qualified research assistants.

Supplementary projects under the umbrella project include the interlinking of all data in a semantic 'context browser' and the formation of an interactive 3D recreation of Pergamon and its surrounding areas (including an inventory of excavations, a reconstruction of known parts of the city layout, the contextualisation of statues and a reconstruction of the landscape).

Select research findings were presented to the public in the major Pergamon exhibition that went on show in the Pergamonmuseum from September 2011 to September 2012, 'Pergamon – Panorama of the Ancient Metropolis', which included a contextualised, interactive 3D recreation of the ancient city.

The results of the project, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, were published in the form of online catalogues that were put online in summer 2013.

The Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk’s expertise should then be consolidated in the long-term within the 'Berliner Antike-Kolleg', a panel created by the Excellence Cluster Topoi. The Skulpturennetzwerk’s expertise should also bear fruits in teaching activities at the various universities involved.

Project website: The complete catalog of sculptures in the Antikensammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Antiquities Collection of the Berlin State Museums)
Project management: Andreas Scholl (Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Johanna Fabricius (FU Berlin)
Project team:  Antikensammlung: Martin Maischberger, Johanna Auinger, Annika Backe-Dahmen, Astrid Fendt, Ralf Grüßinger, Mathias René Hofter, Sabine Neumann; FU Berlin: Johanna Fabricius, Ulrike Papadopoulos
Project sponsor: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Institut für Klassische Archäologie, FU Berlin
Cooperation partner: Arbeitsstelle Digitale Archäologie am Archäologischen Institut der Universität zu Köln
Project funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; Arbeitsstelle Digitale Archäologie am Archäologischen Institut der Universität zu Köln; Verein der Freunde der Antike auf der Museumsinsel e. V.
Duration: 2009 to 2012


In August 2013, this project led to the publication of a comprehensive catalogue of the sculptures in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Antikensammlung. This catalogue has provided the basis for others, some of which have already been printed, and there are more to come. Of course, these volumes do not duplicate the digital inventory. While the digital catalogue provides comprehensive descriptions and commentaries, extensive bibliographic details, references to archive materials and numerous new images, historical photographs and restoration plans, the print catalogues are intended to provide an overview of the collection and are structured according to thematic criteria

Project management:
Andreas Scholl, Agnes Schwarzmaier
Project team: Anja Ludwig, Ulrike Papadopoulos
Project sponsor: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Project funding:  Ernst von Siemens Stiftung; Verein der Freunde der Antike auf der Museumsinsel e. V.
Duration: ongoing