Aarhus Universitets segl

Mette Løvschal

PhD, Professor, Lektor

Mette Løvschal

Principal Investigator on the ERC stg project ‘Anthropogenic Heathlands: The Social Organization of Super-Resilient Past Human Ecosystems’ (ANTHEA) 2020-2025. Project website

Board member of the EAA Scientific Advisory Committee, the ODM Research Council and editorial board member for Norwegian Archaeological Review. Remote referee for the European Research Council (ERC) and external expert reviewer for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (H2020-MSCA-IF)

My research engages with a range of archaeological, social anthropological and philosophical debates pertaining to spatial ontologies and trajectories, land tenure changes, issues related to time and temporality, spatial perception, and tensions between conceptualization and materiality. My work is currently taking three different paths.

The first concerns the long-term temporal and social dynamics and forms of organization that promote super-resilient past land-use regimes – the temporality of resilience. I am particularly interested in how collaborative, persistent institutions of common land, such as the management of heathlands, grasslands and fire-management regimes, self-organize and adapt according to changing circumstances.

The second is the earliest emergence and expansion of land tenure boundaries across northwestern Europe (Løvschal 2014: Curr Anth; 2015: Oxford J Arch; 2020: JRAI) and changes in spatial perception (Løvschal 2014: J Cog Cult; Løvschal & Fontijn 2018: World Arch). Lately, I have been leading a series of comparative studies on the temporal and social dynamics involved in the ongoing fencing processes in Maasai Mara, southwestern Kenya as part of the Maasai Mara Science and Development Initiative (Løvschal et al. 2022 & 2017: Nature Sci Rep; 2018: Land Use Policy; Løvschal & Gravesen 2021: LAND).

The third is the ontology of Early Iron Age sacrificial traditions with particular emphasis on human sacrifice. This research project uncovers the deeper social mechanisms at work, transcending the conventional dichotomies between sacred and profane forms of violence built into human sacrifice. This research includes ongoing work on the mass human deposition at Alken Enge (Holst et al. 2018: PNAS; Løvschal et al. 2020 (ed); Løvschal & Holst 2018: J Anth Arch), Iron Age bog bodies, the systematic destruction of ceramic vessels (Nielsen et al. 2018: Gefion; Roborg & Løvschal 2021) and the ontology of the mixed depositions in a long-term perspective.

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