Whereas German-speaking archaeology (GSA) has long been understood as generally uninterested in theoretical debates, the situation has taken a most interesting development since the year 2000. Archaeologists tried to escape the general decline of the small university disciplines by getting more and more involved in the overarching research questions of cultural studies and in large-scale collaborative projects. The necessity of integrating a clear theoretical and methodological approach for a successful proposal and the subsequent research changed the significance of theoretical discussions. As a consequence, theme-oriented research has developed which aims at addressing overarching themes in the cultural and social sciences. We have chosen five of the most prominent themes in German-speaking archaeology – self-reflexivity, identities, space, cultural encounter and knowledge transfer – as well as material culture, and shed light on their theoretical conceptualization and methodological implementation in recent publications. Despite the lack of dominant schools of thinking, its strong rootedness in the evaluation of empirical sources, and its close link to the discipline of history, current GSA can contribute to the overall theoretical discourse of the discipline.