• PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38F)



1997 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Education information

I received both my MA (2001) and PhD (2008) at the University of Helsinki, Institute of Archaeology. In addition to archaeology, I studied comparative religion and anthropology. My doctoral dissertation, titled A Touch of Red: Archaeological and Ethnographic Approaches to Interpreting Finnish Rock Paintings, received the grade eximia cum laude and was published by the Finnish Antiquarian Society in the Iskos series. The work was supervised by Prof Knut Helskog (University of Tromsø, Norway) and Prof. Richard Bradley (University of Reading, UK) acted as my opponent in the public defence. Between 2010 and 2013 I pursued post-doctoral research, part of it at the Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada). In 2015, I was awarded a title of a docent by the University of Helsinki. A docentship roughly corresponds to ’reader’ or ’adjunct professor’ in the English-speaking world, and indicates that the person in question has conducted research equivalent in scope to two doctoral dissertations. 

Description of research and teaching

My research is currently focused on ancient Near Eastern empires between ca. 960 BC and 0 AD: how the identities of various groups were constructed in different parts of the region and how they changed over time. I am the vice-director of a Centre of Excellence dedicated to the topic, funded by the Academy of Finland.

In addition, my research covers themes such as:

- prehistoric rock art (especially in Finland and Northern Fennoscandia)

- the archaeology of religion

- conflict archaeology (or the study of violence and warfare through archaeological methods)

- neolithization (the process through which human populations have made the change from hunting and gathering to farming and animal husbandry)

- archaeoacoustics (the study of the significance of music and sounds in prehistory)

Between 1998 and 2010, I was closely involved in the study of Byzantine Near East. This research was related to the archaeological activties of a different (now finished) Centre of Excellencethe on 'Ancient Greek Written Sources', headed by Prof. Jaakko Frösen. The project among other things carried out extensive archaeoological excavations in Petra, Jordan.

I am the editor-in-chief of a peer-reviewed, English-language journal on North European archaology called Fennoscandia Archaeologica.

I am  keenly interested in the appication of scientific methods in the study of archaeological materials, but cannot claim any expertise in that field.

I teach almost all aspects of archaeology, ranging from modules that cover Finnish, European and North American prehistory, to artefact studies and archaeological theory. I also run research seminars for both BA and MA level students in archaeology. I am currently the director of the MA program on Cultural Heritage at the University of Helsinki.

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • archaeology of religion
  • rock art
  • iconography
  • cosmology
  • Neolithic
  • Ancient Near Eastern Studies
  • Petra
  • circumpolar studies
  • archaeoacoustics
  • hunter-gatherers
  • Conflict Archaeology

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.