Medieval town Rocamadour
(Photo: Colourbox)


Nature and Culture in Medieval Towns
NIKU Conference 6-7 March 2019

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Wednesday, March 6.

08:30: Registration

09:00-09.15: Kristin Bakken, Director of Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Welcome

09:15-09.30: Opening of the conference by Ola Elvestuen, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment

Keynote 1

09:30-10:30: Keynote 1: Roberta Magnusson, Associate professor in Environmental History of Medieval Europe, University of Oklahoma;

  • Urban Infrastructure and Environmental Risk in Medieval England

10:30-11:00: Coffee Break/ Poster Session

Session 1: Earth and dirt – in theory and practice

11:00-11:20: Rebecca Cannell, Post-doctoral candidate, Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo

  • Temporality and the Natural

11:20-11:40: Vibeke Vandrup Martens, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Impacts of nature and culture on preservation of archeological Remains in Situ in Medieval Towns of Norway

11.40-11.50: Discussion

Session 2: Landscape

11:50-12:10:  Ingeborg Sæhle, Philip Nicolas Wood and Kristoffer Brink, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Pre-urban settlement in an active river delta –Land-reclamation as an integrated part of town construction in the early Middle Ages in Trondheim

12:10-12:30: Julian Cadamateri, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • The agricultural landscape of medieval and post-medieval Trondheim, Norway

12:30-12:40: Discussion

12:40-13:40 Lunch

Session 3: Water

13:40-14:00: Adam Hultberg, Lund University

  • Moving water – on water and sanitary infrastructure in medieval and early modern Oslo

14:00-14:20: Kristian Reinfjord, Anno Museum

  • Water management and drainage in Norwegian Medieval Castles

14:20-14:40: Per Christian Underhaug, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Studies

  • How drainage systems affected and organized the cityscape in Bergen during the Middle Ages

14:40-14:55 Discussion

14:55-15:15: Coffee Break

Session 4: Natural resources – wood and stone

15:15-15:35: Terje Thun, The National Laboratory for Age Determination, NTNU University Museum, and Anna Petersén, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Dendrochronology and wood analysis from archaeological material as a source to the existing natural, economic and human resources in the Viking Age settlement in Trondheim.

15:35-15.55: Morten Stige, Cultural Heritage Management Office

  • Stone or wood in dwellings in Norwegian Medieval Towns?

15:55-16:05: Discussion

16:05-16:30 Break

Keynote 2

16:30 – 17:30 Keynote 2: Axel Christophersen, Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

  • Attitudes to nature and landscapes

19:00 Conference dinner


Thursday, March 7.

Keynote 3

9.30-10.30: Keynote 3: Sarah Croix, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University

  • Changing lifestyles and the beginnings of urbanism in Scandinavia

Session 5: Plants and food

10:30-10:50: Teixidor-Toneu, I., Kjesrud, K., Courtade, M., Kool, A. Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

  • “People and plants”: connecting disciplines to explore Nordic botanical heritage

10:50-11:10: Elise Naumann, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Food and social dynamics in Norwegian Medieval Towns

11:10-11:30: Mia Lempiäinen-Avic, Arkeologisk museum, University of Stavanger

  • Culinary practices in Medieval Turku (Åbo) Finland

11:30-11:45 Discussion

11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

Session 6: Economic and cultural capital

12:00-12:20: Tone Olstad and Christina Spaarschuh, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Stock fish and altarpieces – nature and culture – what are the connections?

12:20-12:40: Bjørn Bandlien, University of South-Eastern Norway

  • Stones, social status and symbolic power in medieval Vestfold

12:40-12:50: Discussion

12:50 – 13:50 Lunch Break

Session 7: Symbolism

13:50-14:10: Kristin Aavitsland, Professor, MF Norwegian School of theology

  • Connecting to the Navel of the World

14:10-14:30: Stefka G. Eriksen, Researcher, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Settlement as a Practice and Metaphor in Medieval Iceland

14:30-14:40: Discussion

14:40: 15:00: Coffee Break

Session 8: The Plague

15:00-15:20: Kristin Kausland, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Artistic craftsmanship in Norway before and after the Great Plague

15:20-15:40:  Frederik Felskau, Independent Researcher

  • The Handling of the Unspeakable.  The Black Death, Exorcism, and the Coping with Catastrophes in 14th and 15th century Lübeck

15:40-16:00: Håvard Hegdal, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

  • Death of a City:  Archaeological evidence for plague-induced abandonment of extensive areas of medieval Oslo, Norway.

16:00 – 16:15:  Discussion

16.15-16:30: Break

Keynote 4

16:30-17:30: Keynote 4: James Barrett, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

  • Ecological Globalisation and the Medieval Town: Of Fish, Fur and Ivory


Poster Session



Katharina Lorvik, Halldis Hobæk and Rory Dunlop:
“Paved with timber, paved with stone: Roads and communication routes in Vågsbunnen, Bergen”

Katharina Lorvik, Halldis Hobæk and Rory Dunlop:
“Fish as food resource in Medieval Bergen. Recent finds from Vågsbunnen”

Julian Cadamateri, Ian Reed, Silje Rullestad:
“Reconstructing a buried landscape at Trondheim”

Julian Cadamateri, Ian Reed, Silje Rullestad:
“Evidence for ‘the little ice age’ from Trondheim”

Nora Furan:
“Altering and using the landscape – the establishment of the medieval town Borg”

Louise Hansen and Anna Petersén:
“The geological context of the Klemenskirke archaeological site”

Philip N. Wood, Ingeborg Sæhle, Kristoffer Brink, Anna Petersén:
“From cult-center to parish church, unusual evidence from St. Clement’s, Trondheim”

For additional information, please contact

Stefka Eriksen or

Elise Naumann


Conference registration