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Interdisciplinary collaborations lead to new unexpected research results


The collaboration between archaeologists and geneticists has recently shed light upon the spread of the plague during the early Stone Age. Among other things, the newspaper Curie highlights the archaeologists Karl-Göran Sjögren and Kristian Kristiansen, associate professor and senior professor at the Department of Historical Studies, whose interdisciplinary collaboration has led to the new knowledge.

The archaeologists were involved in digging up remains in Gökhem outside Falköping in 2001. At the time of the excavation only suggestions could be made on probable causes of death. But with the help of new DNA technology, it has now been possible to establish that the plague had devastating social consequences already in the early Stone Age 5000 years ago. All of this thanks to interdisciplinary collaboration.

Potential for interdisciplinary research

In the past few years, interdisciplinary collaboration within research has been highlighted through various initiatives. For example, the University of Gothenburg announced through the so-called UGOT Challenge initiative means to create new centers for interdisciplinary work on global societal challenges. One of the six UGOT Challenge centers is the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS).

"It is a good example of cross-fertilization between subjects and research areas where researchers from four faculties work together on the importance of heritage, not least its both negative and positive uses," says Kristian Kristiansen, director of the centre.

Among other things, CCHS researchers are studying the importance of daily heritage in second-hand and recycling culture, which is now emerging in relation to global sustainability goals, but also how DNA is used in genealogy and the genetic heritage discourse today. Research at CCHS also encompasses minority places in cities, how material and intangible cultural heritage is manifested and used in different arenas, the importance of art as therapy and part of psychiatry's history and much more.

EU projects aim to promote new research talent

As an effect of the interdisciplinary collaboration within CCHS, new large EU projects have been linked to the centre. This applies to two new graduate schools financed through the EU (Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions - Innovative Training Networks), which have been launched in recent years, the so-called CHEurope and the recently launched HERILAND. Right now, 15 PhD positions are being announced within HERILAND, where the goal is to educate a new generation of researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs to work interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral with a focus on cultural heritage and landscape.

Read more about Karl-Göran and Kristian's interdisciplinary findings in the link below that leads to the newspaper Curie's article .
Tvärvetenskap avslöjade världens äldsta spår av pest (In Swedish)

Read more about the UGOT Challenge initiative:

Read more about the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS):

More information on the graduate schools can be found here:
and here:

The last day to apply to the graduate school HERILAND is April 1, 2019.

Photo: Archeological findings (photo credit Karl-Göran Sjögren), portrait of Kristian Kristiansen.