Liv Nilsson Stutz

Liv Nilsson Stutz

Department of Cultural Sciences Faculty of Arts and Humanities
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I am a bioarchaeologist and archaeologist who got my post graduate training in France (Maîtrise and DEA Université Bordeaux 1, 1996 and 1997) and Sweden (PhD, Lund University 2004). I have worked as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at Emory University (USA) and am currently a professor in Archaeology at LNU. 

My research interests are broad and interdisciplinary.

  • Research on Research Ethics with regards to human remains: Research on human remains is a part of a long scientific tradition. Today museums are the custodians of extensive collections of both skeletal remains and soft tissues. In the Humanities and Social Sciences (archaeology, biological anthropology, history of medicine) research on human remains provide valuable information on the lived experience of people in the past. At the same time, reservations are made against research on the remains of people who were never able to consent. My research explores the space between formal legal frameworks and recommendations on the one hand, and underlying value systems and practices on the other. 
  • Death, Rituals and the Handling of the dead body: I am interested in how people across cultures handle the universal crisis of death, and I have been especially interested in how the ritual treatment of the dead body plays a crucial role in defining and producing ideas about death. Through archaeology I combine  fieldwork, archaeothanatology, ritual theory, practice theory, and body theory to explore the handling of the dead and death especially in hunter gatherer communities in Northern Europe. This work on hunter gatherer ritual practices has also developed into a broader focus on hunter gatherer ontology, new animism, new totemism and the relationships between humans and non human animals in archaeology and anthropology. For more insight into my work on mortuary rituals and the handling of the dead body, listen to this interview by How Stuff Works.
  • Politics, Repatriation and Claims to Culture: My work in burial archaeology has also led me to explore the ethical dimensions of excavating, studying and exhibiting human remains. Through a comparison of the debates in different academic and political contexts, I have examined the repatriation and reburial issue from a perspective that critically examined claims to culture while at the same time recognized the colonial past of the discipline. I have been especially interested in problematizing cultural heritage politics and identity politics and the role that the past in general, and heritage in particular, plays in these discourses.
  • Material Culture, Memory and Affect: More recently I have stared to explore the ways in which culture, emotion and affect, are given form in material culture, and how these material manifestations act back at us through processes of memory and affect. I am starting to develop these thoughts through transdisciplinary connections with cultural anthropology, psychology, history, art, and design.
  • Collaborations with artists and designers: I enjoy collaborating with artists and designers on shared interests (death, order and chaos, material culture). I have collaborated with Timo Menke and Christian Kosmas Mayer by providing commening and analysing texts to their art work. I collaborate continuously with designer Anna Kraitz, for example in the project  STÄDA (2020) (CLEANING, in English) about he material culture of clearning and ordering, and our cultural conceptions about cleanilness, dirt, disorder, and chaos. 

I have conducted fieldwork in Latvia and Jordan.

I was an editor of Archaeological Dialogues (Cambridge University Press) from 2005 to 2020 and I am currently an associate editor for Bioarchaeology International (University of Florida Press), and the Cambridge World Archaeology Series, and the co-edior of the Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial.


  • Stone Age and Iron Age Archaeology in Arkeologi 1
  • Europe and the World in Arkeologi 2
  • Supervision of term papers in Arkeologi 2 and 3. 
  • The Swedish Landscape: temporal and spatial perspectives
  • What is Archaeology. Current Research at LNU (portion on rituals and burials)
  • Ritual, Religion and Materiality (Masters level course)
  • Race and Racism in a postcolonial perspective (masters level course)
  • Archaeology in the Public Debate (graduate course)
  • Research in Museums (graduate course)
  • The Value of the Past (graduate course)
  • How to get published in International Journals (workshop for graduate students)


Principal Investigator: Ethical Entanglements. The caring for human remains in museums and research. The research is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Stiftelsen för humanisktisk och samhällsvetenskaplig forskning. 

Co-Principal Investigator of the Western Ajloun Early Prehistory Project, Jordan. Projektet har finansierats av the LSB Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the National Science Foundation.

Excavations of the Upper Palaeolithic cave Mughr el-Hamamah in Jordan. Chantel White
Liv Nilsson Stutz and Aaron Jonas Stutz at the mouth of the cave at Mughr el-Hamamah, Jordan. In the small square: Early Upper Palaeolithic archaeological material found at the cave (from left to right): el-Wad point, A retouched point with basal modification, and a bone tool. Julie Margolis


Article in journal (Refereed)

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Collection (editor) (Refereed)

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Chapter in book (Other academic)

Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)

Article, book review (Other academic)

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Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))