This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

This course deals with interdisciplinary research in environmental archaeology, i.e. relationships between past societies and the natural world (plants, animals and landscapes). Central to the course are project designs and methodological approaches of research topics primarily combining paleoecology and archaeology. Focus will be on Scandinavian archaeology from where ongoing research and relevant literature will be presented, analysed and discussed. During the course, the candidates get the possibility to advance their own research, by using their own projects as examples.

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student should:
  • have an advanced knowledge of research designs used in environmental archaeology
  • be able to evaluate methods used in environmental archaeology
  • be able to develop new methodological approaches in environmental archaeology

After completing the course the student should:
  • be able to formulate new research questions, plan and execute research in environmental archaeology
  • be able to conduct research in environmental archaeology at an international level
  • be able to handle complex research questions and challenge existing knowledge in environmental archaeology

General competence
After completing the course the student should:
  • be able to identify ethical dilemmas and conduct research with integrity
  • be able to handle complex interdisciplinary research assignments
  • be able to communicate academic issues, analyses and conclusions in the field at an international level
  • be able to contribute to new thinking and innovation processes


The course will be centred on themes related to interdisciplinary research in Scandinavian archaeology. The themes will be addressed through student presentations, lectures by established researchers, classroom discussions (seminars) and a written assignment.
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Archaeobotany
  • Wetland archaeology
  • Landscape reconstruction
  • Agricultural development
  • Natural resources

Human-environment interactions (driving forces, impact, feedback)
The students will present papers from the themes included in the course, followed by discussions by all participants. The presentations should be prepared before the course starts.
Lectures will provide an overview of interdisciplinary research designs and methodology. Case studies of current research in environmental archaeology will be presented, with focus on methodological approaches used to address different research questions.
The course will enable the PhD-student to develop his/her own research project. The post-course assignment may be part of the candidates own project, and should be related to current archaeological research.

Required prerequisite knowledge

The students must satisfy the admissions requirements of the PhD programme.


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Active class room participation Post-course assignment1/1 Pass - Fail
Coursework requirements
Students need to attend a one week on-campus study programme. Presence is mandatory (MP). Mandatory requirements: 75% presence. If students do not fulfil the MP requirement, students will have to pass an assignment given by the course coordinators in order to take the course exam.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Erik Daniel Fredh

Method of work

A combination of lectures, article presentations made by students, classroom discussions and post-course assignment.

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be conducted according to the regulations set forth by the Faculty of Social sciences.


Compulsory literature
Cartwright, C.R. 2015. ‘The principles, procedures and pitfalls in identifying archaeological and historical wood samples’. Annals of Botany 116: 1-13.
Fuller, D. & Lucas, L. 2014. ‘Archaeobotany’. In Smith, C. [ed.] Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer. Pp. 305-310.
Gaillard, M-J. 2007. Pollen methods and studies: Archaeological applications. In: Elias S (ed) Encyclopedia of Quaternary science. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 2,571–2,595.
Gron, K.J. & Rowley-Conwy, P. 2018. Environmental Archaeology in Southern Scandinavia. In Pişkin, E., Marciniak, A. & Bartkowiak, M. [eds.] Environmental Archaeology. Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches. New York: Springer. Pp. 35-74
Supplemental literature
Jones, D.M. [ed.] 2011 Environmental Archaeology: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Methods, from Sampling and Recovery to Post-excavation. 2nd edition. Swindon: English Heritage.
Cuthrell, R. 2014. ‘Archaeobotany of Early Agriculture: Macrobotany’. In Smith, C. [ed.] Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer. Pp. 318-323.
Perry, L. 2014. ‘Archaeobotany of Early Agriculture: Microbotanical Analysis’. In Smith, C. [ed.] Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. New York: Springer. Pp. 323-329.
Pişkin, E., Marciniak, A. & Bartkowiak, M. [eds.] Environmental Archaeology. Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches. New York: Springer.
Riede, F., Andersen, P. & Price, N. 2016 Does environmental archaeology need an ethical promise? World Archaeology 48:4, 466-481.
Case studies (selected for pre-course assignment)
Alenius, T., Mökkönen, T., Lahelma, A. 2013. Early farming in the Northern Boreal Zone: reassessing the history of land use in southeastern Finland through High-Resolution Pollen Analysis. Geoarchaeology 28: 1-24.
Balascio, NL, Wickler, S. 2018. Human-environment dynamics during the iron Age in the Lofoten islands, Norway. Norwegian Journal of Geography ISSN 1502-5292 (online)
Brown, AG 2006. The use of forensic botany and geology in war crimes investigations in NE Bosnia. Forensic Science International 163: 204-210
Church, M.J., Arge, S.V., Brewington, S., McGovern, T.H., Woollett, J.M., Perdikaris, S., Lawson, I.T., Cook, G.T., Amundson, C., Harrison, R., Krivogorskaya, Y. & Dunbar, E. 2005. ‘Puffins, Pigs, Cod and Barley: Palaeoeconomy at Undir Junkarinsfløtti, Sandoy, Faroe Islands’. Environmental Archaeology 10(2): 179-197.
Church, M.J., Dugmore, A.J., Mairs, K.A., Millard, A.R., Cook, G.T., Sveinbjarnardóttir, G., Ascough, P.A. & Roucoux, K.H. 2007. ‘Charcoal Production During the Norse and Early Medieval Periods in Eyjafjallahreppur, Southern Iceland’. Radiocarbon 49(2): 659-672.
Gummesson, S., Hallgren, F.; Kjellström, A. 2018. Keep your head high: skulls on stakes and crunial trauma in Mesolithic Sweden. Antiquity 92 361: 74-90
Halvorsen, L., and K. L. Hjelle. 2017. “Prehistoric Agriculture in Western Norway – Evidence for Shifting and Permanent Cultivation Based on Botanical Investigations from Archaeological Sites.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 13: 682–696.
Hansson, A.-M. & Bergström, L. 2002. ‘Archaeobotany in prehistoric graves – concepts and methods’. Journal of Nordic Archaeological Science 13: 43-58.
Hjelle, K. L., L. S. Halvorsen, L. Prøsch-Danielsen, S. Sugita, A. Paus, P. E. Kaland, I. K. Mehl, et al. 2018. “Long-term Changes in Regional Vegetation Cover Along the West Coast of Southern Norway: The Importance of Human Impact.” Journal of Vegetation Science 29: 404–415.
Jensen, CE, Arntzen, JE 2016. A Late Bronze Age sheep farm north of the Arctic Circle? In Iversen, F. & Petersson, H.: 173-202. The Agrarian Life of the North 2000 BC-AD 1000 Studies in Rural Settlements and Farming in Norway. Portal Akademisk, Cappelen Damm
Larsson, M. and Lagerås, P. 2015. New evidence on the introduction, cultivation and processing of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in southern Sweden. Environmental Archaeology 20, 111-119.
Lagerås, P. 2000. Burial rituals inferred from palynological evidence: results from a late Neolithic stone cist in southern Sweden. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 9, 169-173.
Ledger, P.M., Edwards, K.J. & Schofield, J.E. 2013. ‘Shieling activity in the Norse Eastern Settlement: Palaeoenvironment of the ‘Mountain Farm’, Vatnahverfi, Greenland’. The Holocene 23(6): 810-822.
Oeggl, K. 2009. The significance of the Tyrolean Iceman for the archaeobotany of Central Europe. Veget Hist Archaeobot 18: 1-11
Pinta, E. 2018. ‘Norse Management of Wood Resources across the North Atlantic: Highlights from the Norse Greenlandic Settlements’. Environmental Archaeology.
Robinson, D.E. 2003 Neolithic and Bronze Age Agriculture in Southern Scandinavia – Recent Archaeobotanical evidence from Denmark. Environmental Archaeology 8, 145-165.
Sørensen, L. & Karg, S. 2014 The expansion of agrarian societies towards the north – new evidence for agriculture during the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition in Southern Scandinavia. Journal of Archaeological Science 51, 98-114
Viklund, K. 2011. ‘Flax in Sweden: the archaeobotanical, archaeological and historical evidence’. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 20: 509-515.
Zori, D., Byock, J., Erlendsson, E., Martin, S. Wake, T. & Edwards, K.J. 2013. ‘Feasting in Viking Age Iceland: sustaining a chiefly political economy in a marginal environment’. Antiquity 87: 150-165.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 06.12.2019