Call for Papers: Health, Environment and Urban Development in the Middle Ages

New Dates: 17-18 February 2022
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University Museum, Trondheim

New Abstract Submission Date: 17 December 2021

(The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty about travel activity, inland and abroad. However, it is our priority to conduct this conference physically to contribute constructively to network building within a research area in very rapid development.)

The aim of the conference is to share results and promote interdisciplinary debate amongst international colleagues who have worked across disciplines with research questions related to health, environment, and medieval urban development. We welcome papers from archaeology, history, ancient DNA, paleobotany, zoology/zooarchaeology, climate science, linguists, literary studies, and other relevant disciplines.

We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes in length (+ 10 minutes of discussion) engaged with the session themes. Abstracts should not exceed 200-300 words, and are to be sent to Elisabeth Forrestad Swensen, e-mail: by no later than 17 December 2021, and should contain the following information: name, institutional affiliation, email.

Keynote speakers: Prof. Guy Geltner, Monash University, Melbourne, and Prof M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Centre for Geogenetics, University of Copenhagen.

The conference is organized by the Norwegian Research Council funded project “Medieval urban health: from private to public responsibility” (2017-2020), whose goal has been to shed new light on how public health evolved from individual practices to public actions; what factors caused this ground-breaking development? The overarching methodological principle has been to compare the natural and built urban environment in medieval Trondheim with developments in health, diet, and mobility. The evidence has been gathered from large collections of well-preserved skeletons from medieval cemeteries in Trondheim. Biomolecular analyzes have also been applied to identify the character of infectious diseases in the urban population during the period c. AD1000-1600.

Organizing committee: Prof. Axel Christophersen (Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, NTNU University Museum), Prof. Hans K. Stenøien (Department of Natural History, NTNU University Museum) and senior research fellow Elisabeth Forrestad Swensen (Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, NTNU University Museum).

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