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  • E-mailSilje.Bentsen@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 22 02+47 952 96 934
  • Visitor Address
    Sydnesplassen 12/13
    Room 
    406
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7805
    5020 Bergen

I am project manager and administrative leader of SapienCE. That means that I am responsible for 1) The administrative management of the centre, 2) The daily supervision and coordination of the centre’s activities & 3) Coordination and management of the work done by administrative services associated with the centre. Key tasks are financial management, research administration, reporting and information flow. 

My research focuses on fire-related behaviour. My principal research interest is the use of fire among early modern humans and I am currently researching how heat affects ostrich eggshell and rocks. Furthermore, I am studying human culinary technology, i.e., how the food was processed and potential cooking vessels between 60 000 and 120 000 years ago.

Fire and the pyrotechnology of the stone age have been my main focus since I studied for my MA in archaeology at the University of Oslo (supervisor: Sheila Coulson). I used spatial analysis and the theory of structuration to examine how social structure can be understood through the density of material around the hearth. The analysis was based on material from the French Magdalenian (approximately 12 000 years ago). The actual hearth and how heat affects artefacts, sediments and stratigraphy were at the core of my PhD (2014) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, South Africa. I analysed 60 000 year old material from the Middle Stone Age layers of Sibudu Cave under the supervision of Lyn Wadley. I used experimental archaeology to examine the development of temperatures in a campfire and the effort required to control the fire, as well as formation processes and the contents of selected combustion features. 

From 2014 I held two postdoctoral research fellowships at Wits, working with Sarah Wurz at Klasies River main site in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. We excavated, among other things, potentially heated quartzite, leading to my experiments heating locally-sourced quartzite and subsequent colour changes using digital image analysis. I was also managing digital documentation, GIS and databases during the field seasons.

 

Selected publications
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah. 2019. Color Me Heated? A Comparison of Potential Methods to Quantify Color Change in Thermally-Altered Rocks. Journal of Field Archaeology. 44: 215-233. doi: 10.1080/00934690.2019.1591092
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2012. Size matters: Preliminary results from an experimental approach to interpret Middle Stone Age hearths. Quaternary International. 270. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.09.002
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2013. CONTROLLING THE HEAT: AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH TO MIDDLE STONE AGE PYROTECHNOLOGY. South African Archaeological Bulletin. 68: 137-145.
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2014. Using Pyrotechnology: Fire-related Features and Activities with a Focus on the African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Archaeological Research. 22. doi: 10.1007/s10814-013-9069-x
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2015. By the Campfire: Pyrotechnology and Middle Stone Age Hearths at Sibudu Cave. Azania.
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2016. Stekepannen, bålet og kniven kan ha vært med på å forme utseendet til menneskene. Aftenposten Vitenskap.
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth. 2017. This Time for Africa: African Conference on Experimental Archaeology (ACE) 2018. EXARC Journal.
  • Bentsen, Silje Evjenth; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah. 2017. Towards a better understanding of cooking techniques in the African Middle Stone Age. Primitive tider. 19: 101-114.
  • Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah; Bentsen, Silje Evjenth; Reynard, Jerome; Van Pletzen-Vos, Liezl; Brenner, Mareike; Mentzer, Susan; Pickering, Robyn; Green, Helen. 2018. Connections, culture and environments around 100?000 years ago at Klasies River main site. Quaternary International. 495: 102-115. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2018.03.039
  • Spangen, Marte; Bentsen, Silje Evjenth; Wurz, Sarah Jacoba Deborah. 2018. Arkeologi på rappen 1-3: Silje Evjenth Bentsen og Sarah Wurz om matlaging for 120.000 år siden.

Science communication in social media has been and is a favourite activity for me. I am part of the communication team at SapienCE, with a main responsibility for SoME. 

 

At the moment, I also irregularly update my Norwegian research blog at .https://blogg.forskning.no/blogg-fyr-og-flamme-silje-evjenth-berntsen. I have, however, been more active on other platforms and have, for example, created and maintained the Klasies River project on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KlasiesRiver/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/KlasiesRiver) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/klasiesriver/). 

Are you interested in experimental archaeology, palaeolithic archaeology or fire use? I am available to supervise new BA and MA students. Please contact me for more information.

 

Teaching spring 2021:

ARK213 Experimental archaeology

ARK250 Bacheloroppgave i arkeologi 

  • Show author(s) 2021. Book review: Charles Perreault. The Quality of the Archaeological Record (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 2019, ix and 254pp., 57 figs, 8 tables, pbk, ISBN 978-0-226-63096-0). European Journal of Archaeology. 141-144.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Vi er mer enn 72 000 år. Klassekampen.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Tidlige mennesker brukte ild for 300 000 år siden for å lage bedre verktøy.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Fire Use.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Early Humans Were Using Fire 300,000 Years Ago to Forge Superior Stone Tools.
  • Show author(s) 2019. Social media reports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from the 11th Experimental Archaeology Conference.
  • Show author(s) 2019. Review of: Hamilakis, Y. (ed.) (2018). The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of forced and undocumented migration. Archäologische Informationen.
  • Show author(s) 2019. New technique helps identify which ancient rocks were used for cooking. The Conversation.
  • Show author(s) 2019. Hyener, fall og sykdom – mange farer lurte i steinalderen.
  • Show author(s) 2019. Color Me Heated? A Comparison of Potential Methods to Quantify Color Change in Thermally-Altered Rocks. Journal of Field Archaeology. 215-233.
  • Show author(s) 2019. A Song of Space and Fire: Is There a Pyrotechnical Architecture of the African Middle Stone Age? 15 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2018. Ny jobb, nye penner.
  • Show author(s) 2018. Connections, culture and environments around 100?000 years ago at Klasies River main site. Quaternary International. 102-115.
  • Show author(s) 2018. Book Review: The Archaeology of Time Travel. Experiencing the Past in the 21st Century, edited by Bodil Petersson and Cornelius Holtorf. EXARC Journal.
  • Show author(s) 2018. Arkeologi på rappen 1-3: Silje Evjenth Bentsen og Sarah Wurz om matlaging for 120.000 år siden.
  • Show author(s) 2017. Towards a better understanding of cooking techniques in the African Middle Stone Age. Primitive tider. 101-114.
  • Show author(s) 2017. This Time for Africa: African Conference on Experimental Archaeology (ACE) 2018. EXARC Journal.
  • Show author(s) 2016. Stekepannen, bålet og kniven kan ha vært med på å forme utseendet til menneskene. Aftenposten Viten.
  • Show author(s) 2015. By the Campfire: Pyrotechnology and Middle Stone Age Hearths at Sibudu Cave. Azania.
  • Show author(s) 2014. Using Pyrotechnology: Fire-related Features and Activities with a Focus on the African Middle Stone Age. Journal of Archaeological Research.
  • Show author(s) 2013. CONTROLLING THE HEAT: AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH TO MIDDLE STONE AGE PYROTECHNOLOGY. South African Archaeological Bulletin. 137-145.
  • Show author(s) 2013. Book review: Aurignacian Clay Hearths from Klissoura Cave 1: An experimental approach by Małgorzata Kot. EXARC Journal.
  • Show author(s) 2012. Size matters: Preliminary results from an experimental approach to interpret Middle Stone Age hearths. Quaternary International.
  • Show author(s) 2011. Hvem temmet ilden? Levende Historie.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

My current research projects:

1) Thermal alterations on ostrich eggshell

2) Fire-related behaviour in the Middle Stone Age

3) Cognitive aspects of control and use of fire