Swedish Archaeology Programs Evaluated

Yesterday the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education released an evaluation of the archaeology programs offered at eight of the country's universities and colleges.

The most dramatic finding was that three of the eight offer programs of dubious quality that will be subjected to in-depth evaluation:

  • All programs in Visby.
  • All programs in osteology and the PhD program in Mediterranean archaeology in Lund.
  • All programs in osteology and the PhD program in lab-based archaeology in Stockholm.

This means that all Swedish programs in osteology are possibly sub-standard.

More generally, the evaluation concludes that most of the programs offered are good, though they are very different.

"The programs appear to be put together according to whatever specialists each department has on its staff. The future professional needs of the students should be allowed to influence content more. The various programs also embody remarkably different opinions about what an archaeologist needs to know", says Anders Flodström, head of the agency.

As I've said many times, the future professional needs of the students have nothing to do with archaeology as an overwhelming majority of them will never work in that business. And thus it is immaterial if the various programs are similar or not. Indeed, to get asses in seats you need to offer Tut-Ankh-Amen stuff, not the grubby realities of the tiny labour market out on the highway projects.

Thanks to LL for the tip-off.

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Iâve just read it and the critique is hard, especially on the more focused educations such as osteology, and when one looks at the staffing itâs no wonder. I donât critique the staff per se but the fact that theyâre heavily understaffed, especially Stockholm and Lund.

Now, this is no news in itself but it is tragic as both Stockholm and Lund might loose their PhD programs in Osteology in a near future. Iâve written a debate article on it that will be published in june in Benbiten 2009/01, if you like youâre welcome to read it beforehand and comment on it for the issue.

I would agree with the evaluation of archaeology at Gothenburg University.

The institution got mostly good evaluation but is criticised for the advanced theory and meta-theory that is integrated already from the beginning, since that hardly can be assimilated by the students that early in their education.

I also fully agree with the evaluation critic against lacking learning of the archaeological basic facts and knowledge at the ground level of the education.

I would say that students from Gothenburg hardly know enough basics when they graduate to be able to participate in the work in our business sector. The have neither enough skilled training in methods and practice needed for participating in a professional excavation. I found that very dubious.

By HÃ¥kan Petersson (not verified) on 16 Apr 2009 #permalink

I don't know what it's like today, but in 1992 new employees of the National Heritage Board's excavation units got lower pay during the first three months if they had no previous professional excavation experience. University training was clearly not enough.

As for Gothenburgian archaeological philosophy, well, I've made my opinions known. These people would never survive among real philosophers.

Gosh! FLodis sure get around. He was rector at LiU when I was pretending to get degrees in the mid-90s.

checks self migration path Stockholm, Linköping, Stockholm, Nyköping, London. thinks

No, only managed to live in Europe so far.

I am interested in any archaeological studies in Kopparsberg, Stora Skedvi, and southern Dalarna. I am curious as to the post glacial period, settlement, mining,farming, and cultural interaction with coastal dwellers in the pre- Viking era. This information is unavailable to me here in Michigan where I live. Just wondering if you can suggest a direction to go.

By Robert Carlson (not verified) on 06 Jul 2009 #permalink