Geoforensics and Geoarchaeology Laboratory

Institute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Working groups Prof. Dr. S. Fiedler & Prof. Dr. A. Vött


Overview / Description

The GGL facility makes use of special analytical geochemical and soil science (pedological) procedures to identify geoforensic traces and to solve geoarchaeological research questions. Beyond this, special protocols for organochemical analyses are developed, for example for the identification of biomarker signals in soil and sediment samples. Moreover, concentrations of specific geochemical elements as well as specific soil physical and pedogenetic parameters are measured. Both geoforensic and geoarchaeological samples serve as evidence in many delicate cases, e.g. in cooperation with federal and state offices of criminal investigation as well as with state offices for cultural heritage preservation. Analytical procedures are tightly adapted to research questions and sample material and thus organized in well-organized analytical routines especially considering high risk of contamination which must be excluded.

The GGL facility has been existing since 2010 and is organized as joint facility by Prof. Dr. Sabine Fiedler and Prof. Dr. Andreas Vött. In 2013 and 2014, the GGL was completely renovated and adapted to joint research foci by the two GGL responsibles S. Fiedler and A. Vött.


Equipment (selection)

  1. AHF-Säureaufschlussgerät
  2. Drucktopf-pF-Messanlage Spezialanfertigung (Porenkapazitäts- und Kf-Messung)
  3. Fließinjektionsanalyse FIA_5000
  4. Fotometer Specord 50
  5. Fotoanlage für Bodenproben- und Sedimentkernfotos Eigenanfertigung
  6. Horizontalschüttler-Anlagen Gerhardt
  7. ICP-OES Spectro Arcos
  8. Kernsäge (inkl. Schwingschleifer) Spezialeigenanfertigung
  9. Köhnapparatur Spezialanfertigung
  10. Suszeptibilitätsmessgerät Bartington MS2K
  11. Mikrowellen-Aufschlussgerät Anton Paar Multiwave Pro
  12. Polarisationsmikroskop Zeiss
  13. Röntgenfluoreszenzanalysator Thermo Niton XL3t 900S GOLDD
  14. Rotationsverdampfer - Vakuum Pumpe V-700 (2 Stück) Vacuum Pump V-700
  15. Rotationsverdampfer - Rotavapor R-3 (4 Stück) Rotavapor R-3
  16. Rotationsverdampfer - Kühlsystem (2 Stück) Recirculating Chiller F-108
  17. Sandbäder
  18. Scheibler-Apparatur Scheibler-Dietrich-Apparatur
  19. Soxhlets WHM12293 Spezialeigenanfertigung
  20. Spektrophotometer Konica Minolta CM 600d
  21. Zentrifuge Heraeus Heraeus Megafuge 1.0
  22. Zentrifuge Sigma Sigma 4-15
  23. Perkin Elmer Gas Chromatograph Perkin Elmer precisely Clarus 400 Gas Chromatograph
  24. Agilent GC/MS Triple Quad GC inkl. Autosapler Agilent Technologies 7890B GC System
  25. Agilent GC/MS Triple Quad MS Agilent Technologies 7000D GC/MS Triple Quad
  26. Agilent GC/MS Triple Quad Vakuumpumpe Edwards RV5
  27. Agilent GC/MS -> GC inkl. Autosampler Agilent Technologies 6890N Network GC System
  28. Agilent GC/MS -> MS Agilent Technologies 5975B inert XL EI/CI MSD
  29. Agilent GC/FID inkl. Autosampler Agilent Technologies 7890B GC System
  30. Eh/pH-stat Incubator


Scientific Staff

Academic staff and steering committee of GGL

  • Dr. Timo Willershäuser (GGL head, group Prof. Dr. A. Vött)
  • Dr. Andreas Vött (GGL responsible)
  • Dr. Sabine Fiedler (GGL responsible)

Technical staff that exclusively and full-time work in the GGL facility

  • Dipl-Ing. (FH) Gerlinde Borngässer (group Prof. Dr. A. Vött)
  • Christine Schnöll, Chemielaborantin (group Prof. Dr. A. Vött)
  • Stefanie Klassen, CTA (group Prof. Dr. S. Fiedler)


Usage protocol

JGU users from outside the GGL (e.g. PhD students, post doc researcher, JGU and MPIC colleagues) must obtain appropriate training defined by the GGL head and responsibles before being allowed to use instruments and equipment. Access to the GGL will solely be permitted and organized by the GGL head.

Non-members (e.g., colleagues from JGU institutes and/or Max Planck institutes on campus) can make use of the facility in collaboration with the GGL responsibles.


Publications (selected)

Choi, Y. J., Lampel. J., Fiedler, S., Wagner, T. (2020) A new method for the identification of archaeological materials by their spectral signatures in the vis-NIR region. Journal of Archaeological Science 33: 102553

Corradini, E., Dreibrodt, S., Erkul, E., Groß, D., Lübke, H., Panning, D., Pickartz, N., Thorwart, M., Vött, A., Willershäuser, T., Wilken, D., Wunderlich, T., Zanon, M., Rabbel, W. (2020): Understanding wetland stratigraphy: geophysics and soil parameters for investigating ancient basin development at Lake Duvensee. Geosciences 10: 314.

Fischer, P., Jöris, O., Fitzsimmons, K.E., Vinnepand, M., Prud’homme, C., Schulte, P., Hatté, C., Hambach, U., Lindauer, S., Zeeden, C., Peric, Z., Lehmkuhl, F., Wunderlich, T., Wilken, D., Schirmer, W., Vött, A. (2021): Millennial-scale terrestrial ecosystem responses to Upper Pleistocene climatic changes: 4D-reconstruction of the Schwalbenberg Loess-Palaeosol-Sequence (Middle Rhine Valley, Germany). Catena 196: 104913.

Hadler, H., Vött, A., Newig, J., Emde, K., Finkler, P., Fischer, P., Willershäuser, T. (2018): Geoarchaeological evidence of marshland destruction in the area of Rungholt, present-day Wadden Sea around Hallig Südfall (North Frisia, Germany), by the Grote Mandrenke in 1362 AD. Quaternary International 473 A: 37-54.

Meusel, H., Tamm, A., Kuhn, U., Wu, S., Leifke, A.-L., Fiedler, S., Ruckteschler, N., Yordanova, P., Lelieveld, J., Hoffmann, T., Pöschl, U., Su, H., Weber, B., Cheng, Y. (2018): Emission of nitrous acid from soil and biological soil crust represent a dominant source of atmospheric HONO concentrations on Cyprus. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 18(2):799-813.

Obrocki, L., Vött, A., Wilken, D., Fischer, P., Willershäuser T., Koster, B., Lang, F., Papanikolaou, I., Rabbel, W., Reicherter, K. (2020): Tracing tsunami signatures of the AD 551 and AD 1303 tsunamis at the Gulf of Kyparissia (Peloponnese, Greece) using Direct Push in situ sensing techniques combined with geophysical studies. Sedimentology 67/3: 1274-1308.

Tiemeyer, B., Freibauer, A., Borraz, E.A., Augustin, J., Bechtold, M., Beetz, S., Beyer, C., Ebli, M., Eickenscheidt, T., Fiedler, S., Förster, C., Gensior, A., Giebels, M., Glatzel, S., Heinichen, J., Hoffmann, M., Höper, H., Jurasinski, G., Laggner, A., Leiber-Sauheitl, K., Peichl-Brak, M., Riedel, T., Stümer, W., Drösler, M. (2020): A new methodology for organic soils in national greenhouse gas inventories: data synthesis, derivation and application. Ecological Indicators 109:105838

Vinnepand, M., Fischer, P., Fitzsimmons, K., Thornton, B., Fiedler, S., Vött, A. (2020): Combining inorganic and organic carbon stable isotope signatures in the Schwalbenberg Loess-Palaeosol-Sequence near Remagen (Middle Rhine Valley, Germany). Frontiers in Earth Science 8:276. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.00276

Vött, A., Willershäuser, T., Hadler, H., Obrocki, L., Fischer, P., Heinzelmann, M. (2020): Geoarchaeological evidence of Ostia’s river harbour operating until the fourth century AD. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12/88: 1-26.

von der Lühe, B., Prost, K., Birk, J.J., Fiedler, S. (2020): Steroids aid in human decomposition fluid identification in soils of temporary mass graves from World War II. Journal of Archaeological Science – Reports 32:102431

von der Lühe, B., Mayes, R.B., Dawson, L., Graw, M., Rowland, S.J., Fiedler, S. (2019): First evidence of terrestrial ambrein formation in human adipocere. Scientific Reports 9:18370

Winkler, P., Kaiser, K., Jahn, R., Mikutta, R., Fiedler, S., Cerli, C., Kölbl, A., Schulz, S., Schloter, M., Müller-Niggemann, C., Schwark, L., Woche, S., Kümmel, S., Kalbitz, K. (2019): Formation of soil organic matter under redox fluctuations depends on soil type. Biogeochemisty 143: 31-54.