Anita Synnestvedt

Affiliated to Research

Department of Historical Studies
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Anita Synnestvedt


I was born in 1956 in Fredrikstad, Norway, and I came to Gothenburg in 1978 to study the history of art. My studies were, however, put on the shelf after one term in favor of starting a family and art studies of a more practical nature. During this period, I also trained to be a youth recreation leader and worked for about 10 years with young people and with the arts in different ways. My academic career did not resume until 20 years later, in 1999, and focused instead on archeology.

On December 19, 2008, I defended my PhD thesis, entitled Fornlämningsplatsen - Kärleksaffär eller trist historia (The ancient heritage site - Love Affair or sad story). The thesis focuses on how small ancient heritage sites are used by people today, and it is based on two case studies from Styrsö and Bergsjön in Gothenburg. The conclusions of the thesis can be summarized as follows:

  • It is more important that we have access to objects and locations today than to preserve everything for an unknown future.
  • Small ancient heritage sites need attention and activities need to be created, because the memories created through play are the legacy that we can primarily pass on.
  • Cooperation is required within the disciplines of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities in order to bring the cultural environment to life.
  • Dialogue is needed between publicly organized cultural heritage and those who challenge it.
  • Antiquarians need to step out of their rooms and buildings; they need to become more visible and realize that they are actually engaged in the creation of heritage.
  • Interpretation requires elements of both a local approach and an outside, professional perspective.
  • A pedagogical perspective is needed in the cultural landscape, especially where the meeting between the unknown and the known can occur so as to create new questions and new knowledge.
  • Permitting and acknowledging a diverse and playful history usage of our ancient heritage sites is important in the democratization of cultural heritage.
  • All sites have a story to tell, and we need to highlight the stories and also to constantly create new ones.



From 2008 to January 2014, I was Senior Lecturer at the Department of Historical Studies and taught mainly basic level courses in archeology. For many years, I have also been an employee of the PIL unit at the University of Gothenburg where I have been course coordinator for the subject-specific courses (humanities) in higher education teaching for employees at GU.

My main research interests are cultural heritage, art and archaeology, contemporary archeology, and education. I also have a passion for the university's third mission and constantly strive to combine my interests in interdisciplinary projects. I have participated in several Science Festivals to which I have contributed various archaeological projects and performances.

Since January 2014, I have been involved as a researcher in an EU project called NEARCH (New Ways of Engaging audiences, Activating societal relations and Renewing Practices in Cultural Heritage), which consists of 14 partners from 10 countries (http: // The project’s research focuses on public archeology, heritage, education and the relationship between art and archeology.

Since August 2014, I have also been active as the coordinator of the Cultural Heritage Academy at the University of Gothenburg, which is part of the university’s ”area of strength”: Critical Heritage Studies ( The aim of the Cultural Heritage Academy is to act as a bridge between the academic world and society, which corresponds with the university's third mission. The Academy consists of representatives from the Västra Götaland council and the various museums in the region. Organizing several seminars focusing on current topics related to cultural