The projects of the Research Group »Central Places and Their Environment« involved investigations of individual sites having the character of central places or of limited regions within which networks of settlements were present. Cities, seats of power, and sacred sites are investigated in terms of their significance for and shaping influence on surrounding regions. These themes are explored through direct collaborations between scientists from the archaeological and earth sciences respectively. The focus of our investigations is the network of relations between central sites or settlements in spaces of limited extension and their surroundings. This involves reconstructing the development of the respective central site and of the historical landscape, as well as of various site factors, and analyzing the structure of relationships with the surrounding territory and the connecting region. The types of influence exerted by such central places on the surrounding space are compared in terms of various cultures, regions, and societal systems. The focal areas of investigation are the Mediterranean region, the Black Sea area, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Studies include central places for which adequate historical sources are available, but also sites from preliterate epochs.