Anders Andrén

Senior professor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies
Telephone 08-16 33 65
Visiting address Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Room 321
Postal address Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I was born in 1952 and took my doctor’s degree in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Lund in 1985 with the dissertation The Urban Scene – towns and society in medieval Denmark. At the University of Lund I have been acting professor of Medieval Archaeology 1985-86, lecturer in Medieval Archaeology 1988-92 and 1999, reader in Historical Archaeology 1993-1998 and professor of Medieval Archaeology 2000-2004. Since 2005 I have been professor of Archaeology at the University of Stockholm.

Outside Sweden I have been lecturer and guest professor in Copenhagen (1987, 1989), visiting scholar in Cambridge (1990), Athens (1995) and Sydney (2006), and holder of The Dalrymple lectureship in Archaeology in Glasgow (2003). I have been invited as guest lecturer to about 35 departments of archaeology and history in Europe and I have participated with papers at some 35 conferences in Europe. Besides this, I have taken part in organizing about 10 Nordic and international conferences in Sweden.

Among my scholarly assignments, I am and have been a member of research committees at The Swedish Steel Producer’s Association, The National Heritage Board, The Swedish Research Council, The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Rausing Foundation. In addition I have reviewed research for The Danish Cultural Ministry, The Danish Research Foundation, The Norwegian Research Council and the Academy of Finland. I am and have been a meember of editorial boards for Current Swedish Archaeology and the International Journal of Historical Archaeology. I am also member of the boards of the Danish Graduate School in Archaeology and the Nordic Graduate School in Archaeology.


My research is focused on three fields, namely Historical and Medieval Archaeology, Archaeology of Religion and Urban Archaeology. With a starting point in Medieval Archaeology, I have investigated in a global perspective how historical archaeologies – the branches of archaeology that study literate cultures - discuss and methodologically handle the interplay between objects, texts and images. Within Archaeology of Religion, I have above all studied ritual expressions and cosmological representations in material culture, connected with Old Norse religion as well as medieval Christianity. In the context of Urban Archaeology, I have above all analysed the interplay between economy, social order and spatial organization in premodern European towns.

Current projects

Currently, I am finishing two research projects. One is a small project concerned with the ring-fort of Ismantorp on the island of Öland, where I have carried out fieldwork, in order to understand the chronology, function and meaning of the site. The other one is a large multidisciplinary project, which I have been directing since 2000. The project concerns Old Norse religion, and comprises 15 participants from archaeology, historical archaeology and history of religion.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • Andreas Viberg (et al.).

    Archaeological investigations and clear aerial photographs have identified the presence of house foundations within several ring forts on the island of Öland, situated east of the Swedish mainland. One of them, Sandbyborg, was selected for further investigations by means of a ground-penetrating radar (GRP) and magnetometry survey. The purpose of the geophysical survey was to establish the fort’s spatial layout, to identify any internal constructions within the houses and to investigate whether the fort had multiple building phases. Targeted archaeological excavations was subsequently carried out to verify the validity of the geophysical results and to recover datable material that would enable the understanding of how Sandbyborg was chronologically related to the other ringforts of the island. This information could then be used to better understand the function of Sandbyborg. The results of the geophysical survey clearly show the presence of 36 or 37 stone foundations for houses situated radially aroundthe wall of the fort as well as 16 or 17 similar house foundations in a central building group. The geophysical results also provided information on the possible location of hearths, kilns and pits within the fort and also confirm the location of a third gate situated in the north-western part of the fort. The spatial layout and inner size of Sandbyborg is very similar to one of the other Migration Period ring forts on Öland, Eketorp II. However, there is no evidence of multiple building phases in the data from Sandbyborg. The subsequent excavations showed a very good correlation with the geophysical data. Datable finds, a 14C date from a human metatarsal found in one of the trenches and the lack of geophysical evidence of multiple building phases indicate that the ringfort was used for a limited period of time during thelate fourth century AD. Given the available evidence it is suggested that Sandbyborg primarily was used for military purposes or as a place of refuge intimes of unrest as its location in the outfields, far from arable lands, contradicts an interpretation of Sandbyborg as a fortified village, but as the evidence about the ringforts on Öland is restricted a continued use of geophysical prospection and excavations within the other forts is suggested as a means of obtaining a deeper understanding of the purpose and context of these highly interesting structures.

  • 2016. Anders Andrén. Medieval Archaeology, 236-253

    An interpretation of the mental and ideological perspectives of landscape and settlement in medieval Svandinavia.

  • Chapter Arkeologi
    2015. Anders Andrén. Forskningens framtid!, bil. 1-5

    En kritisk översikt över svensk arkeologi under de senaste 30 åren

  • 2015. Anders Andrén. Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademiens årsbok, 177-186
  • 2015. Anders Andrén. Kyrkan i landskapet, 99-111
Show all publications by Anders Andrén at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 10, 2019

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