Kristin Ilves, the PI of  the Survivors of Ragnarök project, is an early-career researcher, who in 2018 was employed as a tenure-track professor in maritime archaeology at the University of Helsinki after years working in rescue archaeology. She has a PhD from 2012 in archaeology (Uppsala University). In her research, she is combining theoretical insights with a sound empirical approach in order to solve problems that have lost something of their complexity to un-reflected traditional scientific understanding. The foundation of the current research proposal is in the study led by the PI during 2014-16 and focussing on a newly discovered Iron Age site of extraordinary character on the Åland Islands (The hall at the crossroads of Baltic waterways). The initial narrow focus on a single site has since then organically grown in scope, due to the emergence of intriguing follow-up questions pertinent to the wider physical, social, economic and political setting, and highlighted a need for a wider and multi-methodology project investigating aspects of a more general interests also relevant for the processes happening in the world today.


Teija Alenius has a PhD from 2007 in geology and paleontology (University of Helsinki) and is docent in palaeoecology since 2009 (University of Turku) and is one of the leading scientists in biocultural heritage in Finland. She will be conducting multiproxy analyses (pollen, charcoal, NPP, LOI) as well as pollen based landscape reconstructions from lake sediments. This is one of the main methodological approaches within this project considered vital for breaking up the present deadlock state of research with new source material, fresh insight and analysis.

Veronica Walker Vadillo has a PhD from 2016 in maritime archaeology (University of Oxford), and from 2018, she is working at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced studies. Having specialised in applying and developing complex theoretical frameworks in the study of past maritime communities, in this project, she will be in charge of examining societal transformations in the wake of climatic instability using relevant theoretical frameworks to the project’s research design. She will help develop complex interpretative approaches for each work package, and devise ways of bringing the information together to make a coherent, multidimensional understanding of human responses to climate change.

Adjunct professor Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä has a PhD from 2010 in archaeological science (University College of London). Participation in this project ties in with her research projects at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies focusing on late Iron Age artefact traditions and goods transfer in the northern Baltic Sea environs. Her participation in this project and in analysing selected bronze jewellery builds on her material- and methodological expertise, especially, within provenance investigation of archaeological metal artefacts via geochemistry and lead isotope analyses.

Mia Lempiäinen-Avci has a PhD from 2019 in biology, biodiversity (University of Turku). She will be conducting archaeobotanical (macrofossil) analyses as well as assist in reconstructions of landscape and biodiversity. Through combined multidisciplinary studies (macrofossil, pollen, C14 etc.) her participation will contextualise new material from Åland within the changes occurring in the Viking Age Fennoscandia.

Tuija Kirkinen has a PhD from 2019 in archaeology (University of Helsinki) and specialisation in human-animal-landscape interactions. In this project, Tuija will work with the “missing majority”, i.e. the remains of fibres and other animal related organic materials from soils and helps to understand the formational processes, while also developing ways to search, study and manage biocultural heritage. Her study will contribute to understanding of human-animal relations, crafts, trade, as well as hunting and subsistence strategies, but also changes in ideologies and processes of identity creation.