SARG will actively showcase northern  Archaeology, not only through publications, but also by networking and participation in seminars and conferences.


Activities in 2019

Activities in 2018



Northern half of slettnes, and view towards Hammerfest Foto: xxx

June 15th - September 5th 2018

Dr. Carol Lentfer has for 3 months been performing experiments with slate knife edges, assisted by Warwick Andersson. She is now comparing the patterns to a number of Stonr Age knives. This study is a follow-up on her initial visit in April 2017, aiming to produce a pioneer study of use-wear and residues on the northern prehistoric slate knives. Inital results are highly promising!

June 19th-21st 2019

As part of the fieldwork in the Alta Fjord region in 2018, Gjerde and Hood visited previously known lithic raw material sources and quarries. The Alta Fjord region contains several raw material sources/quarries, many of which were discovered by Hood in the 1980s. Adding to the previous discoveries are the slate quarry newly found by Karin Tansem at Djupvik and the chert quarry excavated by the Tromsø Museum at Melsvik. Gjerde and Hood surveyed promising areas for new raw material sources. As part of the fieldwork in 2018 a new slate quarry was found and a few minor chert sources were identified. All these discoveries show that Alta was a rich place when it comes to lithic raw material. These surveys are planned to continue as part of the fieldwork in 2019.

Kvenvannet - new chert source found by Gjerde and Hood in 2018 Foto: xxx

Hood and Tansem in front of the slate quarry at Djupvik found by Tansem in 2016 Foto: xxx

June 4th-9th 2018

Marianne Skandfer, Kenneth Web Vollan and Charlotte Damm surveyed in northern parts of the Sørøysund basin. Bad weather hindered a visit to Sandbukt, but they visited Slettnes and re-recorded all dwellings there. They also visited sites on the northern part of Seiland, In addition to recording previously known sites, Marianne Skandfer found a large Mesolithic sites in the area.


Marianne Skandfer discovered a new large mesolithic site with ver heterogeneous raw material. Foto: C.Damm

June 4th to July 8th 2018

Jan Magne Gjerde has conducted extensive surveys on the SE and SW part of Seiland and in adjacent areas of the basin in the central part of the Alta fjord. While several new sites were discovered, the general picture of clusters with settlements and areas with few sites has been confirmed. He was accompanied for one week by Bjørn Ramberg and for 3 days by Bryan Hood. Hood and Gjerde visited a number of potential quarry sites (chert and slate). 

May 28th-30th 2018

Jan Magne Gjerde sailed north from Alta and around the island of Seiland, in order to evaluate the topograpical potential for new settlement sites. As the sea was rather rough, he was unfortunately not able to a ashore as much as we had hoped for. Still, he was able to determine that large section would have been inaccessible also in the Stone Age, thus limiting the areas that need to be surveyed.


April 16th-17th 2018

Dr. Lotte Eigeland organised and lead a two-day workshop on lithic technology, classification and analysis.

Kenneth Webb Vollan and Charlotte Damm trying to identify unskilled knappers Foto: Jan Magne Gjerde


Lotte Eigeland (right) and Marianne Skandfer discussing the finer elements of the analysis Foto: Jan Magne Gjerde

Identifying bipolar technique Foto: Jan Magne Gjerde


April 10th 2018
Many of the Stone Age Demographics participants joined in a safety in small boats-course:


February 15th 2018

Prof. Knut Andreas Bergsvik joined us for a full day seminar on field work practices, and strategies, in preparation for this summers activities.


November 8th-11th 2017

Dr. Sean Desjardins from the Arctic Centre at Groningen will be visiting. He will present at the internal seminar, and also give an open talk at the archaeology research seminars:

Title: Changing climates, changing fortunes? Evaluating the impact of the Little Ice Age on long-term Neo-Inuit food security in central Nunavut, Arctic Canada

Abstract: Little substantive information is available on responses (or adaptations) to past episodes of natural climate change by Indigenous peoples in the Arctic. In this talk, I present a notable exception: new data on Neo-Inuit (ca. AD 1250 to present) responses to decreased temperatures (and increased sea ice) associated with the Little Ice Age (ca. AD 1300 to 1900) climate change episode in the resource-rich Foxe Basin region of central Nunavut, Arctic Canada. Cooler temperatures should have rendered coastally-adapted Neo-Inuit increasingly dependent on landfast-ice-dwelling small seals (e.g., Pusa hispida) during winter months. However, an analysis of faunal remains from Foxe Basin’s largest-known Neo-Inuit winter site, Pingiqqalik (NgHd-1), suggests a subsistence economy based largely on walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), which prefer open water and moving ice. This pattern is relatively consistent from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries AD. Two conclusions can be drawn from these results: 1) a system of recurring polynyas were likely insulating site residents from the worst effects of the LIA, and 2) residents were effectively weathering any changes through a unique sea-mammal caching regime, a form of which continues among Inuit residents of the area today.

Sept. 28th -Oct.1st 2017 Activities for the public in Hasvik municipality

Charlotte Damm and Jan Magne Gjerde engaged in a series of open activities. Damm gave a talk at the History Society,where she presented the Stone Age Demographics projects, it objectives and some early results.  An open  guided walk to secveral of the new sites on Håen discovered was organized on the Saturday. Gjerde was in charge of organising a "Stone Age day" for two of the small schools, with a variety of activities, including food from a cooking pit, cutting hides with flint knives, and discussing rock art stories.

Jan Magne Gjerde preparing the cooking pit before the school children arrive Foto: C.Damm

Chjarlotte Damm guiding at Hollenderbakken during open Stone Age-walk Foto: J.M.Gjerde


August 28th-September 15th 2017

Dr. Isabell Schmidt from the Institute for Prehistory and Early History at the University of Cologne will be visting  to exchange ideas on early hunter-gatherer demography and mobility.

Isabell will present at the research seminar on Sept. 8th. Her title is

«Late Pleistocene Population Dynamics: demography and mobility of hunter-gatherers at different scales»

The presentation will provide a short overview on studies of demographic processes and introduce the "Cologne Protocol", an approach recently applied within a large scale project to the Late Pleistocene archaeological record of Europe. In the light of ongoing research she will discuss possible interpretative frameworks of mobility and migration, using models developed in Archaeology, Ethnography and Biogeography.

Isabell Schmidt at lecture Foto: xxx


August 6th -11th

A team of four (Gjerde, Skandfer, Vollan and Damm) surveyed predominantly on  Årøya in the Altafjord. The testpitting revealed a good number of new sites. Botanists and paleo-ecologists from the ECOGEN-proejct at Tromsø University Museum also spend a day with us, to core two little lakes in order to reconstruct vegetation and look for human impact on the island.

View from the fjord towards one of our new sites Foto: C.Damm


June 25th - July 2nd 2017

A new field season on Sørøy in Hasvik municipality. Continued recording and documentation of sites. We now have a near exhaustive recorded of alle sites with visible dwellings in the Hasvik-Sørvær region. UIn addition we surveyed Nordsandfjord and the most promissing locations in Dønnesfjord, with very interesting finds at some locations and important negative results in others.

We have also recorded a large number of dwellings east of Hasfjord.

The survey group gathered at Nordsandfjord. (Skandfer, Damm, Jordan, Vollan & Jørgensen) Foto: M. Skandfer

Taborshamn offered a sheltered harbour for the Stone Age habitation Foto: M. Skandfer


June 11th-13th 2017

Damm, Hood and Skandfer will participate in the 2017 ESSAS 3rd International Open Science Meeting in Tromsø, where they wil present a joint paper in the session Paleo-Ecology and join the  WKS1: Paleoecology of Subarctic and Arctic Seas Planning Workshop.


May 10th-12th 2017

Dr. Karen Wicks, post-doctoral research assistant to Professor Steven Mithen, University of Reading, UK will visit us. She will give an open lecture, and discuss Methods and approach with SARG in general.

The titel of the lecture is:

Resilience or wipe out?
Evaluating the convergent impacts of the 8.2 ka event and Storegga tsunami on the Mesolithic of northern Britain

April 21st-April 28th 2017

Dr. Carol Lentfer from from University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and University of Liege, Belgium is visiting to conduct a small pilot study on use-wear and residue analyses on our stone tools.  The indications are positive and we hope to proceed with a more extensive study.

Carol examining a slate point Foto: xxx


April 1st to7th 2017

Dr. Marianne Skandfer and Erlend Kirkeng Jørgensen partipate at the IASC Arctic Science summit Week 2017 in Prague, The Czech Republique. They will present papers in the session Long-Term Perspectives on Arctic Change: Implications for Archaeology, Palaeoenvironments and Cultural Heritage co-chaired by SARG associate Prof. Peter Jordan.

March 21st-23rd 2017

6 SARG members participated at Steinalderkonferansen 2017 (The Stone Age Conference 2017) in Bergen.

Marianne Skandfer on human-animal relationships Foto: xxx

             Jan Magne Gjerde on landscape and geographical knowledge in rock art.

Anja Roth Niemi presents. Foto: xxx

The proejct Stone Age Demographics was well represented at the conference: Gjerde, Kirkeng Jørgensen, Damm and Skandfer. Webb Vollan was also present but escaped camera... Foto: xxx


December 12th-14th 2016

Dr. Miika Tallavaara, post.doc, at University of Helsinki, Finland visits Tromsø for a guest lecture and discussions with SARG members. 

The title of the lecture is:

“Reconstructing long-term human population dynamics using radiocarbon dates as data: a case study from the Holocene Finland”

Dr. Miika Tallavaara assisting SARG PhDs with SPD-analyses - many hours in front of the computer!

November 23rd-24th 2016

Collaborative workshop in Tromsø on archeological demography with focus on the period 3000-1500 BC with partners from CAU Kiel, Germany and University of Bergen. Funded by DNSZ at CAU Kiel. 

Sepember 27th 2016

Charlotte Damm presents a talk on Stone Age Demographics at the Late Pleistoscene Hunter-Gatherer Demography and Mobility Workshop in Cologne, Germany.

August 1st-4th 2016

Charlotte Damm and Erlend Kirkeng Jørgensen spent 4 days in Varanger, visiting and re-visiting key sites. such as Mortensnes, Nyelv, Gressbakken, Sælneshøgda, Gropbakkenengen, Gollvarre, Skjåvika and Kramvik. Kenneth Web Vollan guided a couple of days.


Dwelling pits at Vadsø Airport Foto: C.Damm
Looking for lithics scatters Foto: C.Damm
There is great variety in the raw materials used. Here a nice piece of chert. Foto: E. Kirkeng Jørgensen
Reindeer pitfalls at Korsmyra Foto: C.Damm
Project leader Damm getting wet feet when crossing less than elegantly.... Foto: E.Kirkeng Jørgensen

June 20th-27th 2016

Skandfer, Damm, Jordan, Jørgensen and Vollan depart for fieldwork on Sørøya. The purpose is to re-document the many Stone Age sites and dwellings between Hasvik and Sørvær, which have gone practically unnoticed since Simons excavations in 1966. In addition new surveys will be performed to look for mesolithic sites and for activites away from the immediate coastal area.


June 6th-7th 2016

Charlotte Damm visited Kiel for guest lectures at the Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes" and at the Department for Pre- and Protohistory. She also visited the Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäeologie at Schloss Gottorp in Scleswig.


May 19th-20th 2016

Marianne Skandfer and Charlotte Damm joined Johannes Müller, Berit V. Eriksen and Knut Andreas Bergsvik for a short workshop in Bergen funded by the Deutsch-Norwegisches Studienzentrum (DNSZ). Information on ongoing and planned projects were exchanged and basis for future collaboration confirmed. The follow-up workshop will take place in Tromsø in November 2016, and will focus on demographic and environmental changes ca 3000-1500 BC.


Off-Site Archaeology Workshop  April 27th-28th 2016

SARG organized a 2-day workshop on this unusual theme, The purpose was  to discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of non-house, between sites, off-site perspectives. What aspects of the hunter-fisher lives and societies emerge when investigated from an off-site position?The objective of the workshop was not to present new results, but to move beyond the comfort zone and explore, theoretically and methodologically, new approaches that may potentially bring new Insights.

The topics presented and discussed at the workshop focused in particular on resources (lithics, asbestos, fuel), but also on landscape perceptions and geographical knowledge as well as non-sites.

Workshop participants: Jan Magne Gjerde, Antti Lahelma, Anja R. Niemi, Charlotte Damm, Vesa-Pekka Herva, Lotte Eigeland, Fredrik Hallgren, Marianne Skandfer, Kenneth Webb Vollan, Knut-Andreas Bergsvik, Bryan Hood, Signe Terkelsen & Erlend Kirkeng Jørgensen


September 15th-18th

SARG members Engelstad, Damm and Skandfer joined co-organizer Gjerde for the ACRA III (Alta Conference on Rock Art) in Alta, held in honour of Prof. Knut Helskog. Gjerde, Damm and Skandfer presented papers. The program included several excursions (by night and day) to the many rock art panels in the area.

Night excursion to the panels at Hjemmeluft Foto: C.Damm

Prof. Ericka Engelstad at Amtmannsnes Foto: C. Damm
Dr. Jan Magne Gjerde at the rock paintings at Transfarelv. Foto: C. Damm

May 2015  SARG visit to Oulu

Skandfer and Damm visited the archaeology section at Oulu University to exchange information on ongoing projects and to discuss increased contact and collaboration. They also visited Kierikki Stone Age Centre, where curator Leena Lehtinen and Sami Viljanmaa showed us around, and a number of archaeological sites in and around Oulu.


Page administrator: Charlotte Damm
Last updated: 25.02.2019 16:39