Risto Nurmi


Research interests

My current research interests focus on the development of communities in the north during the era of recorded history. For a long time now, I have been interested in which factors have influenced the generation of artefacts in archaeological contexts and how it is possible to study by analysing artefacts the world view of communities as well as the development and mirroring of a variety of communal (often spiritual) processes through the items people used. I’m interested in the consumption behaviour of people and communities, the generation and permanence of local habits and traditions, as well as the diversity of the use of artefacts and the role of the community.  I have been called “a researcher of artefacts”, but in my own opinion, I’m not studying artefacts as such and I don’t consider myself an actual artefact expert. I strive to understand people’s thoughts and values, and artefacts are the primary mediators of information in this process.  


Active research projects

  • Emergent Consumer Society and Consumer Symbolism in Early Modern Northern Europe. Finnish Cultural Fund (2014-2017). Principal investigator R. Nurmi.
  • Understanding the Cultural Impacts and Issues of Lapland Mining: A Long-Term Perspective on Sustainable Mining Policies in the North. Academy of Finland research project, University of Oulu (2014–2018). Researcher. Principal investigator V.-P. Herva.


Previous research projects

  • Kaupunki, raja ja materiaalinen kulttuuri – modernisaation ja globalisaation vaikutuksia pohjoissuomalaisissa kaupungeissa 1600-luvulta lähtien sekä länsirajalla vuodesta 1809 nykypäivään. Emil Aaltonen Foundation (2009-2011) and Academy of Finland (2010-2011). Researcher. Principal investigator T. Ylimaunu.                    
  • The Material Roots of Modernization in Northern Finland c. AD 1500–1800: An Archaeological Study of Urbanization and Consumption. Oulun yliopisto (2004–2006), researcher, principal investigator J. Ikäheimo.



  • Mullins, P., Nurmi R. Archaeology of Consumption. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology 2014:1680-1683. Springer, New York. (Published online: http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1318)
  • Salmi, A-K., Tranberg, A., Pääkkönen, M., Nurmi, R. Becoming Modern – Hybrid Foodways in Early Modern Tornio, Northern Finland. International Journal of historical archaeology (Published online: DOI 10.1007/s10761-014-0267-0).
  • Symonds, J., Ylimaunu, T., Salmi, A-K., Nurmi, R., Kallio-Seppä, T., Kuokkanen, T., Kuorilehto, M., Tranberg, A. Time, Seasonality, and Trade: Swedish/Finnish-Sami Interactions in Early Modern Lapland. Historical Archaeology. vol 49(3) (in press)
  • Herva, V-P., Nurmi, R. Material and spiritual engagements with money in a northern periphery of early modern Europe. Journal of Social anthropology. Vol 12. no 3 2012: 287 - 309.
  • Nurmi, R. Development of urban mind – object biographical approach, The case study of Tornio town, northern Finland. Doctoral dissertation, archaeology, University of Oulu, Oulu 2011.
  • Herva, V.-P. & Nurmi, R. Beyond consumption: functionality, artefact biography and early modernity in European periphery. International Journal of Historical Archaeology vol. 13, issue 2, 2009:158-182.
  • Nurmi, R. The others among us? – Saami artefacts in the 17th century urban context in the Tornio town, Northern Finland. Papers for the Máttut - máddagat - The Roots of Saami ethnicities, societies and spaces / places seminar 4th – 6th September 2008, University of Oulu, Finland. Sastamala 2009.
  • Nurmi, R. (The) Memory Remains – The Immaterial Remnants of the Toll Fence in Tornio Town. Papers from the third theoretical seminar for Baltic Archaeologists (BASE 3) held at Ventspils, Latvia, October 4th – 6th, 2007.Interarchaeologia 3. Latvia 2009.

Last updated: 21.9.2017