Wir sind die DDB: The Heinrich-Barth-Institut e.V.

The Heinrich Barth Institute undertakes and supports efforts and measures to preserve and maintain Africa's cultural and natural heritage and to create the necessary conditions for this, for example by establishing protected landscape areas. It also undertakes and supports efforts to present research results in a way that is comprehensible to the general public, as well as to create an adequate public image of Africa and its cultural achievements.

Felsbilder sind eine Quelle, die wissenschaftlich ebenso reichhaltig ist, wie ästhetisch. Unter diesem Gesichtspunkt wurde die Felskunst des Daureb („Brandberg“) in Namibia in langjähriger Feldarbeit dokumentiert, zunächst in sechs voluminösen Katalogen veröffentlicht und nun digital in der DDB erschlossen. Zusammen steht dies für eine weltweit einmalige Dichte der öffentlichen Zugänglichkeit eines Felsbild-Kulturerbes. (CC-Lizenz BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Rock art is a source that is as rich scientifically as it is aesthetically. From this point of view, the rock art of the Daureb ("Brandberg") in Namibia was documented in many years of fieldwork, first published in six voluminous catalogues and now digitally developed in the DDB. Together, this represents a density of public access to a rock art cultural heritage that is unique in the world. (CC-Lizenz BY-NC-ND 3.0)

A central task of the Heinrich Barth Institute is the safeguarding of data and materials from cultural and environmental research in the desert areas of Africa, which had already begun in the 1960s at the University of Cologne. Within the framework of the project “User-oriented restructuring of the DDB”, the photo documentation of two long-term projects funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) – “Brandberg Rock Paintings” (Namibia) and “Regional Climate Development and Human Settlement between the Nile Valley and Central Sahara/SFB 389: ACACIA” (Egypt) – was digitised and made available online via the “African Archaeology Archive Cologne” (AAArC), which is located at the object database of the German Archaeological Institute and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne (Arachne). Funding was provided from the NEUSTART KULTUR (NEW START CULTURE) rescue and future programme of the Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, BKM).

In der Sahara zeugen neben Felsbildern vor allem Bodenfunde von einer wiederholten menschlichen Besiedlung der heutigen Wüstengebiete. Insbesondere aus der Zeit vor etwa 11.000 bis 5.000 Jahren, als in der Sahara savannenähnliche Umweltverhältnisse herrschten, lassen Siedlungsspuren, wie etwa Keramikfunde in der „Großen Sandsee“ Ägypten, in vielfältiger Weise die Zusammenhänge zwischen Klimawandel und Kulturentwicklung erkennen. (CC-Lizenz BY-NC-ND 3.0)
In the Sahara, in addition to rock paintings, archaeological finds in particular testify to repeated human colonisation of today's desert areas. In particular, from the time about 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, when the Sahara had savannah-like environmental conditions, traces of settlements, such as ceramic finds in the "Great Sand Sea" of Egypt, reveal in many ways the correlations between climate change and cultural development.(CC-Lizenz BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The digitisation of the documentation of the research projects enables the scientific community, especially colleagues and students in the African partner countries, to have extensive and open access to the primary data and, in addition, provides a lively impression of the research work in thousands of photographs.