Expertise and fields of research

The archaeology team covers a wide range of expertise and research areas.

Arkeologar sit i ein steinhaug rekonstrurer ei grav
Håkon Reiersen

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The Archaeology section at Bergen has strong connections to other research institutions throughout the university and the city, notably the SapienCE centre of excellence, the University Museum of Bergen and its Heritage Management unit, Bryggen Museum and Hordamuseet. These collaborations extend the range of our core team’s expertise in both teaching and research. Common initiatives include our student field school as well as participation in research groups such as the MiddelalderklyngeCOASTARK, Environmental Humanities, and Humans and Materiality.

The staff works in many different regions, including Scandinavia and the North Atlantic, central Europe and the Mediterranean area. Chronologically, it covers the hunting and gathering societies of the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and northern Neolithic, as well as sedentary Neolithic societies, the Bronze and Iron Ages, Antiquity and the medieval and early modern periods.

More about individual research interests can be found on the staff pages, but as a team their work broadly clusters around the following themes:

Dwelling and Landscape

How have humans made themselves at home in the landscape? Our research and teaching efforts on this theme concentrate for example on urban resilience and infrastructure in the Ancient city (see the Discovering Ancient Cities MOOC) and resilient economies in the Middle Ages, but are also evident in a range of output on domestic and monumental architecture across all periods. Recently, we have built up a field course centred on the relationship between humans and the sea over the long term, addressing the University’s strategic interest in maritime research.

Artefacts and Technology

We have long been active in investigating technology and innovation, from stone tool diversification to metal production and its social consequences. Investigating the relationship between making things, using things, and creating social identities (such as gender and ethnicity), helps us think about how material culture is deeply implicated in what it means to be human – also in the modern world.

Social change and worldviews

Societies change all the time, but these processes can be slow and steady, or fast and threatening. We want to learn how societies in the past reacted to different challenges, opportunities and new ideas. Amongst others, we study migration and its impact, the role of religion and world views in (de)stabilising societies, and the impacts of hierarchisation. These also form the focus topics of an international conference planned in Bergen.