Christian Isendahl


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

About Christian Isendahl

Christian Isendahl (born in 1965; Ph.D., Uppsala University, 2002; Docent, Uppsala University, 2012) is Senior Lecturer (universitetslektor) of archaeology at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. Previous to taking up my current position in late 2013 I held research posts at the Human Ecology Division, Lund University (2002–2004), Malmö University (2005), and the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University (2005–2013).

My main research specialization is the prehistory of the Lowland Maya of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, but I have branched out to study the prehistory of the Central Andes (Bolivia) and the Amazon (Brazil). I am interested in issues of long-term sustainability and resilience and apply a historical ecological lens to study urbanism, farming systems, water management, and socio-political organization, with a particular focus on urban farming.

I am a member of the scientific steering committee of the Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) project, the IHOPE-Maya network, and coordinate the World Historical Ecology Network (WHEN; previously based at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University).

My dissertation Common Knowledge: Lowland Maya Urban Farming at Xuch was published in 2002. More recently I edited The Past Ahead: Language, Culture, and Identity in the Neotropics (2012) and co-edited The Urban Mind: Cultural and Environmental Dynamics (2010) and Ecology, Power, and Religion in Maya Landscapes (2011). I am currently co-editing, with Daryl Stump (York University), the Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology (forthcoming on Oxford University Press).

My most recent papers include, among others, “Growth and Decline in Classic Maya Puuc Political Economies” (with Nicholas P. Dunning and Jeremy A. Sabloff; book chapter, 2014), “Med facit i hand? Hur arkeologisk kunskap kan bidra till en hållbar stadsutveckling” (book chapter, 2014), “Sustainable Agrarian Urbanism: The Low-Density Cities of the Mayas and Aztecs” (with Michael E. Smith; Cities, 2013), “Urban Gardens, Agriculture, and Water Management: Sources of Resilience for Long-Term Food Security in Cities” (with Stephan Barthel; Ecological Economics, 2013), “Using Proximal Soil Sensors and Fuzzy Classification for Mapping Amazonian Dark Earths” (with Mats Söderström et al.; Agricultural and Food Science, 2013), “Maya Urban Gardens at Xuch, Campeche, Mexico” (book chapter, 2013), “Archaeology’s Potential Contribution to Pools of Agronomic Knowledge: A Case of Applied Agro-Archaeology in the Bolivian Yungas” (with Walter Sánchez et al.; book chapter, 2013), “Agro-Urban Landscapes: The Example of Maya Lowland Cities” (Antiquity, 2012), “The Domestication and Early Spread of Manioc (Manihot esculenta Crantz): A Brief Synthesis” (Latin American Antiquity, 2011), and “The Weight of Water: A New Look at Prehispanic Puuc Maya Water Reservoirs” (Ancient Mesoamerica, 2011).