Methods Proposed in this Research Program

The ideas presented in the framework of Luwian Studies are hypotheses for the time being. They are mainly intended to furnish suggestions for future research projects. At best, they may help to consider the existing and well-studied ancient sources from a new perspective and to provide a theoretical background for previously omitted empirical studies.

The significance of physical sciences

Archaeology is the study of the physical remains of people of the past. This includes organic matter (such as kitchen waste) and artificially influenced landscapes. If people possessed the knowledge of writing and produced documents, we call it historical time. The study of these texts is the task of historians. Due to the complexity of the matter, archaeological and historical research has been divided over time into many disciplines, for example, prehistory, archaeology, classical archaeology, art history, ancient history, history, classical philology, philology, linguistics, oriental studies and Egyptology. More and more, physical scientific methods are used to reconstruct events of the past from the time before text sources became available. As a result the various sources are examined within each of these areas of research and according to specialized aspects. As a consequence, scientific insights which arise from related materials are subject to and influenced by different principles, doctrines and fashionable trends.


The ideas presented within the framework of Luwian Studies aim to encourage looking at the existing sources from a different perspective and to provide suggestions for future research. They are strictly hypotheses. Accordingly, the research program presented is primarily committed to a hypothetical-deductive methodology. A research program is hypothetico-deductive when it formulates hypotheses that are falsifiable, i.e. they must be able to be disproved by empirical findings. How the hypotheses were generated plays a subordinate role. As long as they are consistent, plausible and empirically verifiable, they must be regarded as scientific.

Luwian Studies uses a natural scientific methodology based on the following steps:

  1. Formulation of plausible and well-founded hypotheses (deductive approach).
  2. Collecting and analyzing observations from the widest possible range of physical scientific fields (empirical method).
  3. Critical review of original observations and collecting new data.

This procedure is used to test the hypothesis that there has been a previously little-studied culture in western Asia Minor that played a key role in the downfall of the Hittite empire. The thesis is in many respects diametrically opposed to the established textbook paradigm, but it is inherently consistent. Therefore, verification would be desirable and promising. An excavation at least 5.1 meter deep about 300 meters west of the citadel knoll of Hisarlık (at the drilling site 128 of geoarchaeologist Ilhan Kayan) may suffice to determine whether the Late Bronze Age city of Troy is buried underneath floodplain sediments.

New discoveries in the transition from the prehistoric to historic period could also lead one day to questioning the current methodology of Aegean prehistory. After all, the discovery of Aegean civilizations was essentially the achievement of an amateur, Heinrich Schliemann. By unearthing civilizations that were about a thousand years older than classical antiquity, he caused some embarrassment in those days among the opinion leaders of archeology. They eventually responded by extrapolating the knowledge that was already established for classical antiquity into the preceding prehistoric period. Even today, German-speaking opinion leaders for the Aegean Bronze Age were often trained as classical archaeologists or ancient historians. Thus, their core expertise lies in the time after the first Olympic Games at 776 BCE. It appears to have been overlooked thus far that a dramatic change took place between Mycenaean and classical times. The eastern Mediterranean only became Hellenistic after the annexing of Lydia to the Persian Empire. For thousands of prior years, the stream of cultural innovations was not from west to east, but from east to west. Hence, patterns prevailing after the 6th century BCE can by no means be extrapolated into the 2nd and 3rd mill. BCE.


Bernbeck, Reinhard (1997): Theorien in der Archäologie. UTB für Wissenschaft, A. Francke, Tübingen, 1-404.
Franck, Georg (1998): Ökonomie der Aufmerksamkeit – Ein Entwurf. Carl Hanser, München, 1-251.
Palmer, Leonard R. (1961): Mycenaeans and Minoans. Faber and Faber, London, 1-264.
Pendlebury, John D. S. (1939): The Archaeology of Crete: An Introduction. Methuen & Co., London, 1-400.
Pullen, Daniel (1994): “Review of ‘The Flood from Heaven’ and ‘Ein neuer Kampf um Troia.’” Journal of Field Archaeology 21, 522-525.
Zangger, Eberhard (1994): Ein neuer Kampf um Troia – Archäologie in der Krise. Droemer, München, 1-352.

Zangger has attempted to apply the rigors of scientific methodology to explaining the end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Daniel Pullen 1994, 522

Of all departments of mental capitalism science is the one with the most complete economy of attention. Science does not just generate knowledge, it also exploits its own knowledge production: scientists do not work for idealistic purposes, but for the sake of a career in which attention is the reward. One does not become a scientists to get rich, but rather to become famous.

Georg Franck 1998, 182

Summing up this account of the development of classical archeology, a striking persistence in its main themes becomes visible. … A real change in the self-understanding of classical archeology is difficult to detect. … An era in which art had no central social value, cannot be explored with the standards of classical archeology.

Reinhard Bernbeck 1997, 24-25

The amalgamation of prehistory and early history with Nazi ideology and policy showed consequences in the postwar period. In West Germany people were satisfied … with an almost entirely atheoretical archaeology. The collection of facts and their chronological and spatial order had become the top research goal.

Reinhard Bernbeck 1997, 30-31

Facts like words are by themselves useless. They must be combined as a means to an end. Their duty is at the lowest to provide the basis of a reasonable theory.

John Pendlebury 1939, xxviii

Any theory is justifiable which agrees with the greatest number of facts known at the time and neither contradicts a vital fact nor human nature and reason.

Leonard H. Palmer 1961, 254

Just as it is [methodologically] inadmissible to asssert, the Sea People consisted of different peoples with similar habitus that were defeated in 1177 BC by Ramesses III., just because this is how the texts of Medinet Habu relate it.

Eberhard Zangger 1994, 75

1177 B. C. – The Year Civilization Collapsed

Eric H. Cline 2014 (book title)

Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.

Wallace Stanley Sayre (1905–1972), U.S. political scientist and professor at Columbia University