Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Eszter Bánffy
Director of the Romano-Germania Commission Frankfurt
Palmengartenstraße 10-12
60325 Frankfurt
+49 69 975818-25


Eszter Bánffy graduated in prehistoric and medieval archaeology and also in Indo-European comparative linguistics at the ELTE University Budapest. After a short period doing contract work she gained a one-year-scholarship at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where she worked on her PhD dissertation and wrote her first articles. After returning to Hungary, she started to work at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
For three decades she has been doing research in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Central and South East Europe, with a stress on settlement history and ritual find contexts. More recently, she has been focusing to the Central European Neolithic transition, and became involved also in theoretic issues and matters of heritage protection.
Receiving the PhD degree in 1988 and a habilitation in 2005 in prehistoric archaeology, along with a second habilitation in geoarchaeology in 2012, she has been conducting several projects within Hungary. The targeted area was Western Hungary where little research had been previously done: three small regions lying at Lake Balaton, in Mid-Transdanubia and at the Austrian border were investigated and published between 1996 and 2004. In the last few years she slightly shifted the study area of her research work, to the Danube banks Southern Hungary. This coincided with the excavation of a major site in the course of a motorway project in the same region: thus, she has been in charge of the evaluation and publication of the whole area called Sárköz, which may have been one of the essential contact zones between the Balkans and Central Europe in the Neolithic. In order to fulfil this major task, a work team of several PhD students, post-docs and colleagues of prehistoric archaeology, osteoarchaeology, archaeozoology and environmental archaeology has been working with Eszter. Their joint work led by Eszter was extended with several international programs. One of them is cooperation with the University of Mainz: an ancient DNA and stable isotope analysis of Neolithic groups in the broader area; in the course of a further project, within the frames of an advanced ERC program with the University of Cardiff and with the English Heritage, four hundred radiocarbon dates coming from the Neolithic Sárköz area are investigated with the Bayesian method. Along with some new ERC cooperation with the University of Bristol on the Neolithic milk consumption she is the head of a team investigating health conditions as part of the food producting subsistence.
Besides working in the Institute of Archaeology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, she is a professor supervising PhD students at two universities: ELTE Budapest and SZTE Szeged.
In 2007, as a member and later the president of the scientific advisory board of the KÖSZ (Cultural Heritage Field Service) she worked for the Hungarian preventive archaeology and heritage to be carried out and assessed in accordance with the Valletta, the European Landscape and the Faro Conventions, each signed by the Hungarian Government. Shortly after 2010 the CHFS was shut down.
Eszter Bánffy is an author of eight books, and more than a hundred twenty chapters and articles, published in 12 European countries, Russia and the United States. She has given lectures and courses in universities like Ljubljana, Vienna, Heidelberg, Prague, Frankfurt, Buffalo, New York University and at the Harvard, where she spent a semester as visiting scholar in 2008. She served on the Board of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) as an executive board member and as secretary (2005-2011), worked in its Nomination committee (2011-2013). In 2013 she became a trustee of the Oskar Montelius Foundation, newly established by the EAA, thus she is continuing to do work for this organisation, and she is one of the series editors of the new EAA Monogaph series: THEMES of contemporary archaeology.
Beginning with 2013 she brought her research projects under the umbrella of the German Archaeological Institute as she started to work as the director of the Romano-Germanic Commission in Frankfurt.
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