At the University of Oulu, archaeological research has focused on the following themes and sectors:

  • Past, environment and cultural processes in the North
  • Bioanthropology and animal osteology
  • Historical archaeology

The first archaeological excavation realised by the University of Oulu was conducted in collaboration with the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum at Hangaskangas in Muhos in 1968. The Laboratory of Archaeology was established in 1975. Extensive excavation activities were started in 1973 at dwellings during recorded history in the Kemijoki and Tornionjoki river valleys. The excavations yielded plenty of materials that required further processing. The work at the sites from the Middle Ages and the beginning of the early modern era continued until the late 1980s. However, starting in the early 1980s, archaeologists gradually started to become interested in the study of Iron Age and Bronze Age sites along the coastline of the Bay of Bothnia. The perspective on research into the Neolithic Era (the New Stone Age) changed when the actual scope of Stone Age sites at Kierikki in Yli-Ii was revealed in the 1990s. University of Oulu archaeologists have participated in research of the Neolithic Era in international and Finnish research projects. For as long as the University of Oulu has practiced archaeological research, researchers from Oulu have actively participated in research projects in the Mediterranean – both in Rome and its immediate surroundings, and at Pompeii. Oulu started to strongly develop its bioanthropology and osteology research in the early 2000s. Simultaneously, the University of Oulu partly returned to its roots and started to develop historical archaeology research within the subject of archaeology. At present, the University of Oulu focuses on northern prehistory, antiquities in Lapland, bioarchaeology, and northern historical archaeology, as well as archaeological research projects in the Mediterranean.

The strengths of archaeology at Oulu is its active interaction with the public and other parties. Active field work and cooperation with other parties involved in field work are of utmost importance to archaeological research. The Laboratory of Archaeology arranges field courses for students and provides researchers with the facilities and tools they need for field work.

Last updated: 20.9.2017