Gustav Kossinna

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kossinna, Gustav


Born Sept. 28, 1858, in Tilsit; died Dec. 20, 1931, in Berlin. German archaeologist. Professor at the University of Berlin (1902-27).

Kossinna was one of the first to pose the problem of the possibility of determining the ethnic origin of a given ancient people by the method of mapping archaeological cultures. This method is used by modern archaeologists to determine areas of settlement and migration of large masses of people in antiquity. Kossinna’s work was characterized by extreme nationalism. He advanced the absurd hypothesis that supposedly 14 prehistoric civilizing missions of ancient Germans, to whom all the European nations are indebted for their culture, once took place. His nationalistic theories were used by German fascism.


Die deutsche Vorgeschichte, eine hervorragend nationale Wissenschaft. Leipzig, 1912.
Die Indogermanen. Leipzig, 1921.
Ursprung und Verbreitung der Germanen in vor- und frühge-schichtlicher Zeit. Berlin, 1926.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Using Tacitus' Germania and other classic works, archaeologists of the day such as Gustav Kossinna set into motion what could be termed the greatest chapter in the history of ethnic cleansing.