Vesa-Pekka Herva's research while affiliated with University of Oulu and other places

Publications (67)

Article
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This article examines mechanisms of marginalization in the monocultural setting of Finland in the early 1990s through the case of the multinational Iriadamant "lifestyle Indians". The Iriadamant imitated Native Americans in appearance, and the "tribe" settled in Finnish Lapland to experiment with a non-consumerist ecological and spiritual way of li...
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During the Second World War, in 1941–1944, Nazi German troops held the frontal responsibility of the Arctic front in Finnish Lapland. In this paper we present the first zooarchaeological study of the wartime faunal remains from German military camps in Lapland. This illustrates the supply situation of both the German soldiers and their multinationa...
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The essay maps and reflects on some dimensions of human–mosquito interaction in the context of the Arctic and inspired by fieldwork in Finnish Lapland. Rather than developing any particular argument, we seek to document this thinking mosquito as a collection of glimpses, fragments and musings. This impressionistic approach was inspired by conversat...
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This introduction to this special issue considers various approaches to understanding ‘the field’ as an object of archaeological and anthropological research, and researchers’ own engagements with it. We draw out some theoretical and methodological approaches to the field as a way of interrogating the cognitive and physical engagements of the resea...
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For many years, I believed that fieldwork is primarily about systematic data collection. Only gradually did I begin to understand that fieldwork has several other, equally meaningful dimensions to it. This essay reflects on archaeological and anthropological fieldwork as inspiration and as a kind of a meditative (or a broadly spiritual) practice th...
Chapter
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Modern industrialized war and the supernatural may seem odd bedfellows, but recent research has indicated that this relationship is much more important than has traditionally been recognized. This photo essay considers the haunting presence of a WW2 German prisoner-of-war camp for Soviet inmates in the environmental and cultural context of Finnish...
Article
This article assesses the construction of cultural geographies of the European far North through an exploration of how Arctic motifs and imaginaries are used in the Christmas tourism industry in Finnish Lapland, and particularly in the city of Rovaniemi, which advertises itself as the ‘Official Hometown of Santa Claus’. Specifically, we draw parall...
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The concept of “dark heritage” has gained traction in recent years in archaeology and in cultural heritage studies more broadly. Its origins lie in the somewhat more specific field of “dark tourism” studies. Both dark heritage and dark tourism are rather vague terms in their current usage, but they generally revolve around places of death, sufferin...
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This article examines photographs illustrating the German war effort in Finnish Lapland during the Second World War. We will analyze the German photographic representation of Lapland from the perspective of how the Germans portrayed and experienced this northern land, with a focus on Fahrbahn Lappland (Lapland’s Roadway), a coffee-table book by the...
Book
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In its analysis of the archaeologies and histories of the northern fringe of Europe, this book provides a focus on animistic– shamanistic cosmologies and the associated human–environment relations from the Neolithic to modern times. The North has fascinated Europeans throughout history, as an enchanted world of natural and supernatural marvels: a...
Article
This paper explores water and watery places as sacred elements among the cultures of the northern boreal zone during the Stone Age, and especially the Neolithic period, through materials deriving from Northwestern Russia and Fennoscandia. The peculiarity and importance of water and certain watery environments, like rivers, lakes, bogs, waterfalls,...
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Previous literature on social equity has focused on procedure, distribution and recognition related to land use governance. We propose novel approach to examine social equity by following ideational turn with an aim to explore globally used and locally persistent myths that (mis)inform governance in practice and effect on the three dimensions of so...
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The unknown and exotic North fascinated European minds in the early modern period. A land of natural and supernatural wonders, and of the indigenous Sámi people, the northern margins of Europe stirred up imagination and a plethora of cultural fantasies, which also affected early antiquarian research and the period understanding of the past. This ar...
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This article discusses military mobilities and encampment, and associated themes such as dislocation and displacement of people, through the case of a Second World War German military camp in Finnish Lapland. The article describes the camp and its archaeological research and discusses various aspects of the camp and camp life in its particular suba...
Chapter
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This paper maps diverse attitudes towards the heritage of the World War II German military presence in Finnish Lapland of northernmost Europe. As part of Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union, German troops had the frontal responsibility in northern Finland in 1941–1944. After a cease-fire between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1944, increasing Sovi...
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Vehicles abandoned by multinational refugees during the winter 2015-2016 in northern Finnish Lapland's border checkpoints represent an offshoot of the ongoing global refugee crisis on the so-called "Arctic Route" to Europe via Russia. In the summer 2016 this material reminder of refugee mobility vanished almost totally, as the vehicles were auction...
Conference Paper
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Анализируются изменения в использовании разных типов сырья для производства каменных орудий в регионе озера Сайма в Восточной Финляндии во время распространения традиции типичной гребенчато-ямочной керамики в 4 тыс. до н.э. Полученные результаты позволяют предположить проникновение в южную часть региона нового населения в результате миграции и пост...
Article
The adoption of pottery in eastern Fennoscandia in the later sixth millennium BC has traditionally been understood in straightforward technological and practical terms, and as a development that did not mark other significant changes in local culture or ways of life. Recent research in the region, combined with new ideas about Neolithization in Eur...
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Reindeer herding is an emblematic livelihood for Northern Finland, culturally important for local people and valuable in tourism marketing. We examine the livelihood resilience of Finnish reindeer herding by narrowing the focus of general resilience on social-ecological systems (SESs) to a specific livelihood while also acknowledging wider contexts...
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Almost all archaeologists encounter collectors of different kinds of artefacts at some point in their career, whether it is the private collectors of financially valuable antiquities or ‘amateur archaeologists’ who have amassed personal collections of local finds. In our research into the material legacy of the German presence in northern Finland d...
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Sites connected to the Second World War (WWII) are increasingly recognized as worthy of archaeological investigation. Researchers are also becoming aware that that the collectors market in objects connected to WWII, particularly those connected to Germany, is encouraging the stripping of conflict landscapes in the search for “collectors items.” Fin...
Article
The author shows how houses in the northern Baltic were constructed using two realities: the reality of timber and the equally potent reality of spirits supporting and controlling the fate of structures. Excavations in seventeenth-century Tornio (now in modern-day Finland) showed that houses were furnished with special offerings when founded and re...
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This article addresses the functions and meanings of Second World War German material heritage in northern Finland from a haunting perspective and in terms of magical thinking. While archaeologists and heritage professionals have primarily been interested in the historical information that Second World War sites and military material culture may co...
Article
This paper addresses long-term perceptions and meanings of coastal landscapes, particularly of coastal islands, in the northern Baltic Sea region from the Neolithic to the early modern period. Instead of identifying specific meanings attributed to particular landscape elements, the aim here is to explore similarities and continuities in the ways of...
Article
This article discusses fabrications and alternative histories, and their relationship with antiquarian and early archaeological practice, in the Baroque world through the case of an alabaster urn reportedly found in the garden of a Swedish royal castle in 1685. The urn, decorated with a strange inscription, is used to address broader issues of how...
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In 1822, a devastating town fire sealed a large ceramic assemblage from a store in the town of Oulu in northern Finland. Excavations of the merchant’s stock recovered over a hundred kilograms of ceramics that was almost entirely composed of undecorated creamware, a ware and decorative type whose popularity had faded significantly by the 1820’s. The...
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In the context of northern Europe, copper use started early in eastern Fennoscandia (Finland and the Republic of Karelia, Russia), sometime after 4000 bc. This article explores this Stone Age copper use in eastern Fennoscandia in relation to broader cultural developments in the region between the adoption of pottery (c. 5500 bc) and the end of the...
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While contextual and interpretive approaches to money have recently emerged in archaeology, coins have attracted little serious attention in the post-medieval archaeology of the western world. The relative neglect of coins as archaeological finds probably derives from an (implicit) assumption that the function and meaning of coins is readily appare...
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Copper finds from Neolithic contexts in eastern Fennoscandia represent the earliest phase of metal use in northern Europe. Currently some 30 sites, which have produced approximately 180 copper finds, are known. The finds consist mainly of nuggets and indeterminate lumps of copper, but a number of personal adornments and small tools are also present...
Chapter
This chapter explores the relationship between spirituality and ­engagement with the material world in post-medieval Europe. Spirituality is often understood as the subjective experience of religion and the supernatural, but that may be too narrow a view and a different perspective is pursued here on the basis of a relational ontology and epistemol...
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When founded in 1621, Tornio was the northernmost town in Europe. The founding of Tornio was part of a larger urbanization boom in the Kingdom of Sweden which established itself as a northern European great power in the early 17th century. This paper discusses the meanings of, and the townsfolk's relationship with the urban landscape of Tornio in t...
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Viimeaikaiset tutkimukset ovat osoittaneet, että neolitisaatio oli maatalouteen perustuvaa toimeentuloa huomattavasti moniulotteisempi ilmiö, joka kosketti myös Koillis-Euroopan aluetta voimakkaammin kuin aiemmin on ajateltu. Uudet aktiviteetit, kuten viljely ja mineraalisten materiaalien aiempaa monipuolisempi käyttö, ohjasivat ihmisiä myös havain...
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In the later part of the Second World War, German troops were responsible for a front of nearly a thousand kilometers in Lapland, Northern Finland. The Germans built close to 100 prisoner of war and labor camps in the area, and imprisoned some 30,000 Russian soldiers there. Since Lapland’s infrastructure was very poor, the prisoners were used as a...
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Animistic and other alternative ontologies have recently been discussed in archaeology and material culture studies, but these discussions, while not entirely unfamiliar to historical archaeology, have so far had a limited impact on our understanding of the post-medieval Western world. This paper uses Western esoteric thought and folk beliefs to en...
Article
The nature of environmental and human-animal relations in past societies has been subject to much discussion in archaeology and other disciplines, but the significance of environmental beliefs may not have been fully appreciated in post-medieval European contexts. This paper argues that a reassessment of how people engaged with animals and the natu...
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Contextual and interpretive approaches have broadened perspectives on historical cartography since the 1980s, but maps still continue to be understood as a means of encoding and communicating spatial information and ideas. These established approaches to maps, however, are embedded in modernist assumptions and may misrepresent the function and mean...
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Maps can arguably provide a wealth of information about various aspects of historical landscapes and societies. While it is clear that not all information on historical maps is reliable, some basic assumptions about the nature of maps tend to go unquestioned. There is thus a need to scrutinize scholarly assumptions about historical maps and map-mak...
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This article discusses relational ontology and its significance for interpreting archaeological material from post-medieval contexts. The general theory of the relational constitution of the world is first introduced and some of its implications discussed in relation to the ‘meaning’ of artefact biographies. Second, by drawing from folk beliefs, th...
Article
It is widely recognized that folk beliefs flourished in early modern Finland which had formally been Christianized for centuries. These folk beliefs seem to propose, in the modern view, that people in the past believed in the existence of non-human beings, such as trolls and spirits, and considered a variety of material things from artefacts to lan...
Article
This paper considers the functionality and biographies of artifacts in the context of historical archaeology. It is argued that in order to understand how human life in the recent past unfolded in relation with material culture, artifacts must be recognized to perform various unobvious functions and also be conceived as processes rather than bounde...
Article
That the ‘natural’ world was imbued with symbolic and religious meaning in Minoan Crete has been suggested since the early days of Minoan archaeology. Notwithstanding, it often remains unclear how certain constituents of the physical environment acquired specific meanings, and what such meanings imply for the actual dynamics of human-environment re...
Article
This paper discusses the relationship between art, perception and human engagement with the environment in Minoan Crete through the depiction of landscapes and the ‘natural world’ in art. It is argued that the conventional approaches to Minoan ‘nature scenes’, based on the representation and expression theories of art, are overshadowed by modernist...
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This paper discusses the interpretation of the objects deliberately hidden and sealed up in the structure of Minoan buildings. These building deposits are usually interpreted in terms of religion and ritual but this conventional view may actually be based on fallacious assumptions about the nature of human-environment relations in Bronze Age Crete....
Article
How do archaeologists assign meanings to prehistoric art objects? Ancient art is often understood in terms of communication and expression, whereas other than purely visual meanings of art are seldom promulgated. Art is often associated with survival, religion and identity - the 'big issues' of social life - but some art objects may have been speci...

Citations

... Monille heistä pohjoinen avautui erilaisten painajaismaisten kokemusten näyttämönä Lapin tiettömillä soilla ja tuntureilla. Sotilaiden muistelmissa korostuvatkin esimerkiksi räkkäajan piinaavuus ja kaamoksen masentavuus (Norum et al. 2021). Pohjoinen maisema vaikutti saksalaisista tyhjältä, epäinhimilliseltä ja epätodelliselta ympäristöltä, johon monet heistä suhtautuivat pelokkaasti. ...
... In this sense, and as a future line of research, cost-calculation systems such as the Activity-Based Costing system [90] should be added to these information requirements. Improvement in sustainability reporting, which includes nonfinancial information, might have a positive impact on financial performance [91] and could be an important factor to diminish the negative image of the tourism and hotel sector as an extractive industry [92]. Improving the quality of indicators and the information offered to the public in the field of water consumption might help avoid issues such as tourismphobia, which is taking root in several destinations [93]. ...
... and poorly known region a blank canvas for fantasies and projections (e.g. Seitsonen et al. 2019). While the Iriadamant did not specifically venture into Lapland, Finnish perceptions of the community resonated readily with the long-standing ambiguous perceptions of the High North and facilitated the marginalization of the "Lapland Indians". ...
... Indeed, as rock art is often interpreted as the materialization of traditions such as creation myths (e.g. Herva and Lahelma 2020;Nyland and Stebergløkken 2021), these sites could represent a similarly entangled relationship of storytelling and religion to that of the Indian shadow puppetry tradition. ...
... Economic development, such as industrial infrastructure projects and tourism activities, is growing in the Arctic (AMAP, 2017;Finger & Heininen, 2019;Forbes, 2006). In Fennoscandia, reindeer husbandry has conflicting interests with other land-use forms, mainly forestry (timber harvest), agriculture, exploration and extraction of natural resources, outdoor recreation and tourism, and energy production (Pape & Löffler, 2012;Pettersson et al., 2017;Sarkki et al., 2018). Intensifying land use has led to fragmentation and deterioration of reindeer pastures, causing the available pasture area to shrink (Anttonen et al., 2011;Jaakkola et al., 2013;Kumpula et al., 2014). ...
... Показателями такого развития в южной части являются новые элементы материальной культуры: неизвестные ранее здесь формы керамики и технологии расщепления (площадочное скалывание и получение бифасиальных форм), используемые для обработки импортируемого в изобилии кремня, а также высококачественных разновидностей местного кварца (Mökkönen et al. 2017b). ...
... In addition, scholarship tends to be masculinist (see Garton 1998 for overview). So far, our contribution to understanding how 200 or more women, many of them far from home in an unfamiliar place, experienced the war, is modest (see Seitsonen et al. 2017 for work on the dislocation of military personnel). Basic information such as knowing where these women were stationed requires considerable effort to glean. ...
... Such approaches can shed light on such diverse issues as, for instance, the making of children's lifeworlds and feelings of athomeness, presentation of (de)colonial spaces, and even the past and contemporary refugee crises (e.g. Bajorek 2020; Kirova and Emme 2006;Koponen, Seitsonen, and Koskinen-Koivisto 2018;Koskinen-Koivisto and Seitsonen 2019;Seitsonen, Herva, and Kunnari 2017a). ...
... It is within this context that I situate the concept of the post-sedentary hunter-gatherer. Huntergatherers across northern Europe experienced a period of diversification, specialization and declining mobility beginning around 7500 BP (Jordan and Zvelebil 2009: 70-74;Herva et al. 2014: 144-145;Nordqvist and Kriiska 2015: 540;Herva, Mökkönen, and Nordqvist 2017;Mökkönen, Nordqvist, and Herva 2017). The same period saw the expansion of long-distance social networks which facilitated the diffusion of new technologies and cultural practices (Manninen and Knutsson 2011;Nordqvist and Kriiska 2015: 541). ...
... The site was and is archaeologically important in regard to the Neolithization of north-eastern Europe, a topic that I came to study, among others, many years later (e.g. Herva, Mökkönen, and Nordqvist 2017). Neolithic villages -clusters of semisubterranean houses dating between 4000 and 2000 BC -had only recently been truly discovered and provoked quite some excitement among Finnish archaeologists. ...