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Information for Researchers No. 77 | 30 October 2020
Priority Programme “Entangled Africa: Intra-African connections between Rainforest and Mediterranean (ca. 6,000 to 500 BP)” (SPP 2143)

In April 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Entangled Africa: Intra-African connections between Rainforest and Mediterranean (ca. 6,000 to 500 BP)” (SPP 2143). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

Background and scientific objectives

Africa is a source of various cultural inspirations and innovations making it from the archaeological point of view a hot spot in the research of human history. However, well studied areas and periods are juxtaposed with virtually unknown regions and little understood contexts. To date, study of these contexts has been predominantly characterised by an extra-African, e.g. European or Near Eastern, perspective.

This Priority Programme attempts a fundamental change in perspective. The main objective of the programme is to render visible the multilayered entanglement of wide ranging contacts in the African past between the Mediterranean and the rainforest. Entanglements and interactions which had a formative influence on human societies during the last 6,000 years are studied with the help of a wide spectrum of multidisciplinary methods.

Methodological framework

The Priority Programme is a coordinated project dealing with archaeological research issues. Its members work in close collaboration with their African partners. Since the programme studies entanglements, projects and research questions should be conceived on a supraregional scale. There are three main aspects:

  • Which indicators of interregional contacts and entanglements can be detected?
    The question aims at identifying indicators that represent interregional contacts (e.g. nonlocal objects and materials whose origin remains to be clarified; agents that become visible by the dissemination of innovative technologies such as food production, pottery/iron manufacturing or architecture or are proven by written records).
  • Which forms do these interactions and entanglements take?
    The organisation of interactions, their spatial distribution, time depth and infrastructure are analysed (e.g. mechanisms, like the mobility pattern behind the contact: migration, exchange or trade; the answering of questions regarding the cause and motivation behind mobility).
  • Which patterns can be detected?
    What territories are connected to each other, during which period of time and on the basis of which mechanisms? At this point we focus on the particular environmental and social impact factors during the last 6,000 years (e.g. the effect of geographical position; which climate and environmental changes as well as transformations within human societies formed entanglement mechanisms).


Proposals must fit with the spatial and temporal framework of the Priority Programme: northern hemisphere Africa between the Mediterranean and the rainforest between 6,000 and 500 years BP. At least one of the three entanglement aspects defined above must be a central point in the proposal. Thus coherence and connectivity between participants can be ensured. Collaborations between projects, which have enrolled in the first phase (see link below) or applying for the second phase of the programme are welcome and should be mentioned in the proposal. Please note that the overall financial framework for the call for proposals is limited.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 31 January 2021. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. In addition to submitting your proposal via elan, please send an electronic copy to the programme coordinators (see below).

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 17 January 2021 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will generally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the “SPP 2143 – Entangled Africa: Intra-African connections between Rainforest and Mediterranean (ca. 6,000 to 500 BP)” call during both the registration and the proposal process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to “Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes” and select “SPP 2143” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under “Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal”.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

Collaborations between projects, which have enrolled in the first phase, can be found here:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinators:

  • Dr. Jörg Linstädter 
    Dr. Johanna Sigl
    Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) 
    Commission for Archaeology of None-European Cultures (KAAK) Bonn 
    Dürenstr. 35–37
    53173 Bonn 
    phone +49 228 997712-0 
    Link auf E-Mailspp2143@dainst.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:


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