Introducing OSEH Professor II: Felix Riede

Oslo School of Environmental Humanities is happy to introduce Felix Riede as a Professor II! He is Professor (with special responsibilities) and Director of Research at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University. From late 2019 to 2022 he will engage in  projects with particular focus on the development of the so-called ‘palaeoenvironmental humanities’.

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Image: The temporal sweet-spot of the ‘palaeoenvironmental humanities’, where the empirical concerns of many adjacent but often separate environmental disciplines meet. Felix Riede

I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH) as a Professor II from 2019 to 2022. Over this three-year period, I’ll be coming to Oslo for shorter and longer visits, cultivating collaborations with OSEH folks as well as with other colleagues at UiO (e.g. at CICERO and CEED).

I’m an evolutionarily- and ecologically-minded prehistorian who has developed a signature ‘palaeoenvironmental’ approach that fuses the traditional archaeological attention to human-environment relations across time with the narrative and ethical awareness of the environmental humanities. At AU, I have founded and nurtured, through a series of internal and external grants, the Centre for Environmental Humanities (CEH); in my own research, funded repeatedly by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, numerous private foundations and lately the ERC, I explore the multifaceted impacts of environmental change – especially extreme environmental events such as volcanic eruptions – on past human communities as well as the impacts that humans have had on the environment. I also have a particular interest in the human communities of the Arctic and Palearctic. In addition, I strongly promote environmental ethical engagement and Open Science. At my home institution, I am Professor of Climate Change Archaeology and Environmental Humanities. There, I head the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science and my research focuses on the societies of Europe's deep time, on cultural transmission and on human vulnerability and resilience to natural hazards and climate change, from deep past to the the Anthropocene.


Felix Riede portrait

Most of my work is published in article formats and you can find them hereA book-length summary of my long-term interest in the eruption of the Laacher See volcano and its socio-ecological aftermath bears the title: Splendid isolation. The eruption of the Laacher See volcano and southern Scandinavian Late Glacial hunter-gatherers (2017). In addition, I have edited or co-edited volumes such as Past Vulnerability. Volcanic eruptions and human vulnerability in traditional societies past and present (2015), The Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe: Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (2017), and Lateglacial and postglacial pioneers in northern Europe (2014). Finally, together with the formidable Payson Sheets, I have an edited volume forthcoming (September 2020) in Berghahn’s Catastrophes in Context series – stay tuned!


At present, I am wrapping up one large project ( funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, whilst starting up an new and even larger one funded by the ERC ( In concluding the project on past extreme events, I am busy curating a special exhibition at Moesgård Museum that will mirror current and future socio-ecological vulnerabilities in those of the past. Consider yourself invited.


My first scheduled visit to OSEH will take place from 22-24 April 2020. During this period, amongst other things, I’ll be co-hosting a workshop with Ursula Münster on teaching about the environment across disciplines. At the same time, we’ll be plotting a larger event on the autumn of 2020 focused on a ‘New Environmental Archaeology’ that situates itself at the interface between the human and natural sciences, between the qualitative and the quantitative, between the abstract and the applied. More on that later.

Published Feb. 19, 2020 4:12 PM - Last modified June 10, 2020 4:16 PM