Archive for the ‘Other academic’ Category

Two lectures on ancient DNA

Friday, August 7th, 2015

My two DNA colleagues from the¬†Institut f√ľr Gerichtliche Medizin der¬†Medizinischen Universit√§t Innsbruck will be visiting and have agreed do give two lectures dealing with different aspects of ancient DNA. The lectures will last approximately half an hour each and it will be open for questions afterwords. The lectures are open for everyone, so, if this sounds interesting you’re most welcome.


Location: Seminarrom 1 which is located on the ground floor of √ėysteinsgate 3.

Date: Thursday 20th August

Time: 09.30


The lectures:

Professor Walther Parson¬†will give the folowing lecture: “The Russian Tsar family,¬†Mozart and Friedrich Schiller: What can DNA from old bones tell us about historic¬†persons?”


Petra Kralj, PhD candidate,¬†will give the following lecture “How ancient DNA¬†analysis uncovers history. Migrations in medieval Trondheim”.



New book series about Scandinavian archaeology

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

De Gruyter Open publishers have decided to start a new book series about Scandinavian archaeology and I have accepted to be the series editor, so I will use this blog post to promote this new venture.


As the title suggests, the book series will be about Scandinavian archaeology and this is the only criteria you be aware of if you would like to have a book published in this series. All types of books will be considered for publication: monographs, edited volumes, conference proceedings etc. Topics may range from stone age archaeology to forensic archaeology to theoretical and/or methodological books. As long as the topic has a connection to Scandinavia, the book will be considered for publication.


Before you stop reading, I should mention that the first three books in this series will be published free of charge (more information below).


The book series will be published as “open access” and here are¬†some of the advantages with using this publishing model:

“As a publishing model, Open Access enables your research to reach the widest possible audience. It also allows you to share the results with the global scholarly community. So far, Open Access has been successfully used for journals and now we seek to apply it to monographs. Not only has research refuted the assumption that Open Access jeopardizes print sales, it has in fact shown that the publishing model can significantly increase them. Electronic Publishing also offers many additional features that are not available in traditional formats, such as reference linking, full-text search etc. As the cost of handling Open Access publishing is lower, one can afford publishing very specialized books, which otherwise, due to their small potential audience, might not have been accepted for print by traditional academic publishers.” (text taken from the publisher’s website)

For answers to many other questions regarding “open access” publishing, go to¬†the FAQ¬†website.

What do you get if you decide to publish in this series? 

  • rigorous and comprehensive peer-review of submitted proposals and manuscripts
  • English language copy-editing by native English speaking specialists in the field
  • professional composition of the manuscript in PDF format
  • hosting the book on a sophisticated platform, which offers many functionalities, e.g. active links in references
  • printed copies sold to libraries and individuals, by De Gruyter Open and distributors (e.g. Amazon)
  • complimentary printed copies for book author and editors
  • royalties for the author from print copy sales
  • indexing by Google and other search engines
  • e-book delivery to libraries and full-text repositories (e.g. Google Book Search)
  • Creative Commons copyright license


Publication charges, waiver policy and funding

De Gruyter Open applies the author-pays model to support publication costs, and charges a flat fee of 10,000 euros for any monograph, textbook, edited volume or reference work published. In order to help authors De Gruyter Open has introduced a waiver and discount policy. For information on whether you are eligible, please contact the managing editor in your discipline. For archaeology this is Katarzyna Michalak and she can be reached on the following e-mail address:


Extensive and constantly updated information about available funding for open access publications can be found here: Funding for authors


However, the first three books in this series will be published free of charge, so if you have written a book, just about to finish a book, or have arranged a¬†conference and would like to have the proceedings published, this might be just the opportunity you are looking for. Be among the first three to publish in this series and you don’t have to worry about funding.


You can download a book proposal form here: Book-Proposal-Form


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch:¬† or

Want to learn something about taphonomy?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

A couple of years ago I wrote a paper as part of the requirements for my PhD. That paper discusses the importance of taking taphonomy into account when studying human remains¬†from an archaeological context. I have made some changes to the original paper and changed it into an article format, but as this article is not likely to be published, I’ve decided to make it available on this blog.

If you’re not sure what taphonomy is, here’s the definition used in this paper: “Taphonomy was first described as an own field of study by Efremov in 1940 and was defined as ‚Äúthe science of the laws of embedding‚ÄĚ and referred to the study of what happens to an organism from death to fossilisation. In the strictest sense of the word, taphonomy is thus devoted to the analysis of post-mortem processes affecting organic remains, but in archaeological terms the definition has been extended to include, not only living organisms, but all materials and can be said to be the study of the transformation of materials into the archaeological record (Bahn, 1992:489).”

The discussion in this is article is entirely concerned with the taphonomy affecting the human body and skeleton.

If you’re interested, enjoy.

Use this link to download the article: Osteo- and funerary archaeology The influence of taphonomy – For blog


Surgical masks in the field?

Monday, May 13th, 2013

There was program on Norwegian TV yesterday about archaeology and the topic was burials:¬†It was a fine program and I enjoyed it, but one thing made me wonder. They showed a clip from an excavation in Denmark where skeletons were being exhumed and the excavators wore surgical masks. It was stated that they wore the masks to protect the bones from DNA contamination; they didn’t want the excavators’ DNA to be left on the bones in case they wanted to extract DNA from the bones at a later stage. My first reaction was, does this really help? The bones will be handled by many people during and after the¬†excavation and will be transported, examined and stored. Unless people have become exceptionally disciplined, I find it hard to believe that every person coming in contact with the bones would wear gloves and a mask. Especially as we see in the next clip bones being handled by the osteoarchaeologist who was not wearing a mask or gloves.

DNA is also being extracted from deep within the bones or from inside the root of the teeth, so does breathing on the surface of the¬†bones really contaminate the material? DNA is also being successfully extracted¬†from bones excavated many decades ago which must have been handle by a great number of people. I am no DNA expert, so if anyone who reads this has any information or an opinion on the matter, please leave a comment. I am all in favour of taking all necessary precautionary measures, but there’s got to be a sound reasoning behind it. I struggle to see the real value of wearing surgical masks in the field but I would be pleased¬†to be convinced otherwise.

Immigration and mobility in mediaeval and post-mediaeval Norway
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen

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