University of Erfurt

Reaching for Atlantis. The cultural biographies of objects under the Swedish Empire and beyond.


‘Reaching for Atlantis’ focusses on telling the history of objects that were subject to the massive reinterpretation of material culture under the Swedish Empire (ca. 1650–1720). Establishing a digital repository will allow to bring together contemporary as well as previous and later contextualisations of selected objects. Opening up a diachronic view on their multi-layered ‘cultural biographies’ with the help of a digital visualisation, the project will break new ground to make objects the oculars of paradigmatic shifts in antiquarianism and the pre-Linnaean history of science, permitting deep insights into the social dimensions and epistemological frameworks of early modern collecting.

Contact: Dr. Bernhard Schirg (E-Mail:

Funding: VolkswagenFoundation (Freigeist-scheme)

Run-time: May 2018 – April 2023



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