Gustav Kossinna

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
One side is perhaps still based on the theoretical approach of Gustav Kossinna, but the other follows the waves of processual and post-processual archaeology without much resistance.
In this context archaeology took another turn in Germany, with Gustav Kossinna, professor of prehistory at Berlin (Klein 1974).