Sven Isaksson

Sven Isaksson


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Arbetar vid Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur
Telefon 08-674 73 67
Besöksadress Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Rum 219
Postadress Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Mitt huvudsakliga forskningsområde är matkultur och näringsfång, och hur detta förändras under långa tidsförlopp. Min forskning sker främst inom ett fält som kallas för biomolekylär arkeologi. I kombination med vedertagen arkeologisk bevisföring, och skriftligt källmaterial (från de perioder det finns tillgängligt), använder jag mig av både molekylär analys och isotopanalys av lämningar efter mat som påträffas på och inuti förhistoriska keramikkärl och antropogena jordar. Kronologiskt  spänner sig min forskning från sent Paleolitikum fram till sen Modern tid. 

Efter min doktorsdisputation i juni 2000 var jag gästforskare på the Fossil Fuel and Environmental Geochemistry Newcastle Research Group, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, från november 2000 till mars 2001. Sedan dess har jag varit anställd som externfinansierad forskare vid Arkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet och vid Centrum för evolutionär kulturforskning, båda vid Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur vid Stockholms universitet. Jag har varit projektledare för tre och medsökande på fyra externa forskningsprojekt under denna tid (se nedan). Sedan augusti 2016 innehar jag en tillsvidareanställning som lektor i Arkeologi med laborativ inriktning vid Arkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet, Stockholms universitet, och från och med oktober 2016 är jag engagerad som handledare inom the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Joint Doctoral Training Site ArchSci 2020.


Som projektledare:

2007-2010: A Spartan way of life? On the culture of food and subsistence in Bronze Age Sweden. Finansierat av Forskningsrådet.

2002-2007: Research Fellowship (Bidrag för rekryteringsanställning som forskarassistent i arkeologi, samt Tilläggsbidrag till anställning som forskarassistent (arkeologi).) Finansierat av Forskningsrådet.

2001-2005: By House and Hearth - The chemistry of culture layers as a document of the subsistence of prehistoric man. Co-applicant: Björn Hjulström. Finansierat av Forskningsrådet.

2001 06 01-2001 08 31: Tracing ancient vegetable foods. Finansierat av Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien.

Som medsökande:

2013-2014: Whey to go - detecting prehistoric dairying practices in Scandinavia. Principal Investigator: Prof. K. Lidén, Stockholm University. Co-applicants: Dr. Sven Isaksson, Dr. Gunilla Eriksson. Finansierat av Berit Wallenbergs stiftelse.

2011-2014: Ceramics before Farming: Prehistoric Pottery Dispersals in Northeast Asia. Principle Investigator: Dr P. Jordan, University of Aberdeen, UK. Co-applicants: Dr B. Fitzhugh, University of Washington (USA), Dr I. S. Zhushchikhovskaya, Russ.Acad.Sci. (Russia), Prof. H. Kato (Project Associate), University of Sapporo (Hokkaido), Dr S. Isaksson (Project Associate), Stockholm University (Sweden), Dr P. S. Quinn, University of Sheffield (UK). Finansierat av The UK Leverhulme Trust.

2010-2013: Uniquely Human. Principal Investigator: Prof. M. Enquist, Stockholm University. Co-applicants: Prof. Stefano Ghirlanda, Dr Sven Isaksson, Dr Johan Lind. Finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet.

2007-2009: Cultaptation – "Dynamics and adaptation in human cumulative culture". Coordinator: Prof. Kimmo Eriksson. Other Principal Investigators:  Prof. Magnus Enquist, Prof. Stefano Ghirlanda, Prof. Kevin Laland, Prof. Kerstin Lidén, Prof. Pierluigi Contucci, Prof. Arne Jarrick. Co-applicants: Hanna Aronsson, Micael Ehn, Lewis Dean, Dr. Gunilla Eriksson, Dr Sven Isaksson, Fredrik Jansson, Dr. Jeremy Kendal, Elin Fornander, Dr. Jonas Sjöstrand, Dr. Luke Rendell, Pontus Strimling, Dr. Niklas Janz, Dr. Johan Lind and Christina Schierman. Finansierat av EU:s 6:e ramprogram.

Akademiska priser

2008: Från Societas Archaeologica Upsaliensis "för hans framgångsrika, flervetenskapliga strävan att förena naturvetenskap och humaniora genom att skickligt och uppslagsrikt väva samman egna biomolekylära och arkeologiska analyser och tolkningar."

2001: Från Kungliga Vitterhets, Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, för “förtjänt vetenskapligt arbete (Food and Rank in Early Medieval Time)”.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2018. Alexandre Lucquin (et al.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115 (31), 7931-7936

    The invention of pottery was a fundamental technological advancement with far-reaching economic and cultural consequences. Pottery containers first emerged in East Asia during the Late Pleistocene in a wide range of environmental settings, but became particularly prominent and much more widely dispersed after climatic warming at the start of the Holocene. Some archaeologists argue that this increasing usage was driven by environmental factors, as warmer climates would have generated a wider range of terrestrial plant and animal resources that required processing in pottery. However, this hypothesis has never been directly tested. Here, in one of the largest studies of its kind, we conducted organic residue analysis of >800 pottery vessels selected from 46 Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene sites located across the Japanese archipelago to identify their contents. Our results demonstrate that pottery had a strong association with the processing of aquatic resources, irrespective of the ecological setting. Contrary to expectations, this association remained stable even after the onset of Holocene warming, including in more southerly areas, where expanding forests provided new opportunities for hunting and gathering. Nevertheless, the results indicate that a broader array of aquatic resources was processed in pottery after the start of the Holocene. We suggest this marks a significant change in the role of pottery of hunter-gatherers, corresponding to an increased volume of production, greater variation in forms and sizes, the rise of intensified fishing, the onset of shellfish exploitation, and reduced residential mobility.

  • 2017. Ester Oras (et al.). Journal of Mass Spectrometry 52 (10), 689-700

    Soft‐ionization methods are currently at the forefront of developing novel methods for analysing degraded archaeological organic residues. Here, we present little‐used soft ionization method of matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization‐Fourier transform‐ion cyclotron resonance‐mass spectrometry (MALDI‐FT‐ICR‐MS) for the identification of archaeological lipid residues. It is a high‐resolution and sensitive method with low limits of detection capable of identifying lipid compounds in small concentrations, thus providing a highly potential new technique for the analysis of degraded lipid components. A thorough methodology development for analysing cooked and degraded food remains from ceramic vessels was carried out, and the most efficient sample preparation protocol is described. The identified components, also controlled by independent parallel analysis by gas chromatography‐mass spectrometry (GC‐MS) and gas chromatography‐combustion‐isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC‐C‐IRMS), demonstrate its capability of identifying very different food residues including dairy, adipose fats as well as lipids of aquatic origin. The results obtained from experimentally cooked and original archaeological samples prove the suitability of MALDI‐FT‐ICR‐MS for analysing archaeological organic residues. Sample preparation protocol and identification of compounds provide future reference for analysing various aged and degraded lipid residues in different organic and mineral matrices.

  • 2016. Alexandre Lucquin (et al.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (15), 3991-3996

    The earliest pots in the world are from East Asia and date to the LatePleistocene. However, ceramic vessels were only produced in largenumbers during the warmer and more stable climatic conditions ofthe Holocene. It has long been assumed that the expansion of potterywas linked with increased sedentism and exploitation of newresources that became available with the ameliorated climate, butthis hypothesis has never been tested. Through chemical analysis oftheir contents, we herein investigate the use of pottery across anexceptionally long 9,000-y sequence from the Jo¯mon site of Torihamainwestern Japan, intermittently occupied from the Late Pleistocene tothe mid-Holocene. Molecular and isotopic analyses of lipids from 143vessels provides clear evidence that pottery across this sequence waspredominantly used for cooking marine and freshwater resources,with evidence for diversification in the range of aquatic productsprocessed during the Holocene. Conversely, there is little indicationthat ruminant animals or plants were processed in pottery, althoughit is evident from the faunal and macrobotanical remains that thesefoods were heavily exploited. Supported by other residue analysisdata from Japan, our results show that the link between potteryand fishing was established in the Late Paleolithic and lasted wellinto the Holocene, despite environmental and socio-economic change.Cooking aquatic products in pottery represents an enduring socialaspect of East Asian hunter–gatherers, a tradition based on a dependabletechnology for exploiting a sustainable resource in an uncertainand changing world.

  • 2016. Sven Isaksson. Överleva 77 (1), 34-43
  • Kapitel Pots in Context
    2016. Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay (et al.). In dialogue, 55-66
  • 2015. Sven Isaksson (et al.). PLoS ONE 10 (5)

    Here we present an analytical technique for the measurement and evaluation of changes in chronologically sequenced assemblages. To illustrate the method, we studied the cultural evolution of European cooking as revealed in seven cook books dispersed over the past 800 years. We investigated if changes in the set of commonly used ingredients were mainly gradual or subject to fashion fluctuations. Applying our method to the data from the cook books revealed that overall, there is a clear continuity in cooking over the ages - cooking is knowledge that is passed down through generations, not something (re-) invented by each generation on its own. Looking at three main categories of ingredients separately (spices, animal products and vegetables), however, disclosed that all ingredients do not change according to the same pattern. While choice of animal products was very conservative, changing completely sequentially, changes in the choices of spices, but also of vegetables, were more unbounded. We hypothesize that this may be due a combination of fashion fluctuations and changes in availability due to contact with the Americas during our study time period. The presented method is also usable on other assemblage type data, and can thus be of utility for analyzing sequential archaeological data from the same area or other similarly organized material.

Visa alla publikationer av Sven Isaksson vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 10 januari 2019

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