DHSC Project Team: Professor Mads Kähler Holst, Dr Peter Moe Astrup & Claus Skriver, Moesgaard Museum

Professor Mads Kähler Holst, Executive Director of Moesgaard Museum

Mads Photo 1

For the last 4 years I have been at the Moesgaard Museum involved in defining new strategies for the Danish Maritime Archaeology. As part of a reorganisation of the National Heritage Management, the museum became responsible for the cultural heritage and archaeological investigations in the maritime waters around Jutland, mainland Denmark. From the start, it was evident that the submerged prehistoric landscapes (of the Stone Age) would be our focus. The fact that such a large part of the early prehistoric landscape is submerged together with the inaccessibility makes them incredibly valuable cultural sites. They are often incredibly rich as archaeological deposits and many of them yet to be discovered. In addition, the relatively protected waters and the high organic contents of the marine sediments in the Danish waters mean that we often have an extraordinary preservation of the sites. Bone and wood artefacts that have completely disappeared on dry ground are sometimes fully preserved and have revealed new complex ornaments and technologies. In this way, maritime archaeology in Denmark offers up not only more sites, but discoveries show a completely different side of those early prehistoric cultures compared to what we find by the Archaeology of dry land.

The main challenge is that the scale of the questions we would like to answer often collides with the relatively slow speed and added costs associated with working on underwater investigations. For that reason, we are increasingly trying to find new strategies and methods that will allow us to target our investigations better. The Deep History of Sea Country project is a very important part of this development.

My own background is a PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology from 2004. My research has revolved around several large-scale research excavations mainly from the Bronze and Iron Ages, in the last years particularly wetland sites. In 2014 I became Professor of Archaeological Methods at Aarhus University and since last year I have been executive director of Moesgaard Museum.

Dr Peter Moe Astrup, Moesgaard Museum, Curator of Maritime Archaeology

Peter Astrup Photo 2

Since 2000 I have been involved in investigations of submerged Stone Age sites and from 2011-2015 this became a central theme in my PhD project “Sea-level changes in Mesolithic southern Scandinavia – Long and short term effects on society and the environment”. In this project, more than 1.200 14C dated sea-level index points (SLIP) were collected from geological and archaeological contexts in order to determine the coastline displacement during the Mesolithic period. In addition by using these models, diving surveys were targeted to clarify the extent to which marine resources were utilized along the Early Mesolithic coastlines.

Peter Astrup Photo 1

Between 2011 and 2016 I have lectured sessionally on the Mesolithic, Coastline modelling and underwater archaeology at Aarhus University and University of Southern Denmark. After completing the PhD project in 2015, I was made a permanent member of staff as Maritime Archaeologist at Moesgaard Museum. Here, I have had the ability to initiate new projects that aims to explore the submerged landscapes/settlements, as well as developing new methods for this purpose. We will be undertaking new and potentially exciting developments within the DHSC project that we hope will also be applicable outside of Denmark, and contribute positively to World Archaeology and Maritime Archaeology on an international scale.

Claus Skriver, Moesgaard Museum, Curator of Maritime Archaeology

Claus Photo 1

I completed my Masters in Prehistoric and Medieval Archeology at Aarhus University in 1999, with my thesis on a use-wear study of lithic material from the Neolithic. Since then I have been employed at Moesgaard Museum as a specialist in Maritime Archaeology, where I have led numerous field and lab-based projects. In 2003 I received my professional diver certificate and together with conservator, the late Jesper Frederiksen, we started the Maritime Archeology research program at Moesgaard in 2004. Since that time, we have developed the program which now includes maritime responsibilities for the waters along the Jutland Coast and the Inland Lakes. Our facilities include all of the equipment needed to undertake survey, recording, excavation and conservation of underwater archaeological material.

I am an underwater archaeologists and curator, and my daily work is Cultural Heritage Management both on Land and Sea. I also am responsible for the cooperation between the three maritime museums in Jutland. Since the beginning of the excavation on Hjarnø Sund site in 2010 I have been the lead investigator for the field campaigns and overall project including fundraising and planning. The initial work at Hjarnø was started in 2010, when significant erosion of the site was first observed. In order to collect as much archaeological material as possible before it was lost, we began a research program that focused on the preservation of organic materials, especially botanical and zoological data in addition to archaeological artefacts that might be present in inundated shellmiddens and layer of Gytja. To maintain consistency in field methods and research focus over the coming years, I am participating in the research at Hjarnø with the DHSC project which we hope will build on the existing work and provide new and important archaeological data.


Author: Deep History of Sea Country: Climate, Sea Level and Culture

This is our official project blog for the Deep History of Sea Country: Climate, Sea Level and Culture. Our project is funded by the Australian Research Council (DP170100812) and our official webpage is: http://www.flinders.edu.au/ehl/archaeology/seacountry.cfm Submerged landscape archaeology is an under-researched field in Australia and represents a major opportunity to address knowledge gaps in world prehistory such as early human migrations, the archaeology of land bridges and coastal-hinterland cultural exchange.