Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

Michel Notelid

My research focus lies in interdisciplinary studies including philosophy, philosophy of science, social and political science and the intersection with Archaeology. I have a long life involvement in environmental issues and am presently exploring the practice of conservation from a philosophy of science and practice theory perspective. 

Archaeology and the Imaginary

The project “Archaeology and the imaginary: The role of vision as a paradigm for truth, knowledge and reality in archaeology” explores the role of vision as a paradigm of knowledge, truth, and reality in archaeology from the viewpoint of philosophy of science. Vision, it is argued, is embedded in the methodology and epistemology of archaeology, in its hermeneutics of positions, perspectives, and horizons.

Since modernity, our western culture has been dominated by an ocularcentric paradigm, a vision-generated, vision-centred interpretation of knowledge, truth, and reality that is a fundament of science and humanities today. The project identifies and makes explicit how visuality has dominated archaeological thought and vocabulary and I trace its discursive construction in the development of the archaeological discipline since the 19th century. The analysis forms part of a larger debate within philosophy and social theory regarding the role of vision and the discourse of vision in the very construction of our thought and shows that if archaeology is to contribute to this debate, it is essential to examine the vision that the discourse of archaeology promotes with its descriptions, explanations, epistemologies and rhetoric, and examine the discourse of vision in the very construction of archaeological thought.The project also explores the transformation of our vision since the 19th century and, importantly, analyses how the rapid advances in the technologies of vision afflict our natural capacity for vision. Simulation techniques and computerized vision are in the verge of relocating vision to a plane severed from a human observer. Increasingly these emergent technologies of image production are becoming the dominant models of visualization according to which primary social processes and institutions function. This poses crucial historical questions. If there is in fact an ongoing mutation in the nature of visuality, what forms or modes are being left behind?

Long term socio-environmental history of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique.

I am currently involved in a project that investigates the long term socio-environmental history of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique.

The research project uses archaeology, anthropology and paleoecology to analyse the long-term socio-natural dynamics in Limpopo National Park (PNL), Mozambique. PNL was proclaimed in 2001 as part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park and inhabitants are presently being resettled. PNL is an area constituted by a very high vulnerability to climatic variability but with a long and continuous occupation by farmers, pastoralists and hunter and gatherers. The project asks 1) How have past and current resource management practices contributed to shape the PNL landscape over time and 2) How have these practices contributed to shape social and biological resilience and vulnerability? 3) How can landscape history contribute to improving equity and sustainability in conservation management? The strength of this project lies in its interdisciplinary methodology including archaeological surveys, vegetation and land use history reconstructions, interviews on past and present day changes, local history and mapping and documentation of the place names, landscape markers and historic remains. Our aim is to inform and improve conservation and heritage decision-making in PNL. Landscape history may provide the possibility to mediate between different value systems. We will also be able develop methodologies for assessing and improving conservation management, of importance not only for PNL and Mozambique, but also internationally. Participants: Dr Michel Notelid, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History; Dr Rebecca Witter, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, University of British Columbia; Limpopo national Park. Funded by Swedish Research Council (2012-2015). See the Landscape transformations website for more information.



Notelid, M. (In prep). Identity and the Museum as a Public space. Museum of National Antiquities.

Notelid, M. (In prep). Archaeology and the Imaginery: The role of vision as a Paradigm of Knowledge, Truth and Reality in Archaeology. Cambridge.

Ekblom, A and Notelid, M. (Forthcoming) Ritualised practises in Sommaränge skog, Uppland, Sweden, Late Neolithic to Bronze Age. To be submitted to Journal of Social Archaeology

Review papers

Ekblom, A., Gillson, L and Notelid, M. (2011) A historical ecology of Limpopo Natural Park and lower Limpopo valley. Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History 1.

Notelid, M. (2005). Varför begrundan måste komma före disciplinen. META, Vol. 1 2003. Lund. [Eng. translation: Why contemplation has to come before the discipline]

Notelid, M. (2001a). The ritual issue in a science ‘presupposing a corpse’. I Biehl, P. & Bertémes, F. (eds.), The Archaeology of Cult and Religion. Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation, pp. 193-201.

Notelid, M. (2001b). Mellan poesi och vetenskap. Res Publica 53, pp. 37-46.

Notelid, M. (2000). Contemplative archaeology. European Journal of Archaeology 3, pp. 129-31.

Notelid, M. (1996). Vetenskap och religion i negativ dialog. Tor 28, pp. 313-47. Uppsala. [Eng. translation: Science and religion in a negative dialogue]

Notelid, M. (1997). Båtgravritualens ideologiska implikationer. Studier från delprojekten vid Uppsala Universitet (SIV, Svealand i vendel- och vikingatid), pp. 1-19. Uppsala. [Eng. translation: The ideological implications of boatburials]

Notelid, M. (1995). Displacement and Problems of Scope in the Renewal of Valsgärde Research. Tor 27, pp. 419-29. Uppsala.

Book chapters

Ekblom, A and Notelid, M. (2010) A white manʻs bush? A comparison of socio-politics in the creation of Kruger National and Limpopo National Parks. In: Friman, E and Gallardo, G. and (reds). Politizised Nature – Global Exchange, Resources and Power. Cefo publication series 2. Uppsala, Cemus, CSD Uppsala.

Notelid, M. (2007). Inledning. In Notelid, M (ed.), Att nå den andra sidan: om begravning och ritual i Uppland. Arkeologi E4 Uppland – studier II, pp. 11-14. Uppsala, Societas Arcaeologica Upsaliensis. [Eng. translation: Introduction, In to reach the other side: burial and ritual in Uppland Sweden]

Notelid, M. (2007). Diskussion. In Notelid, M (ed.), Att nå den andra sidan: om begravning och ritual i Uppland. Arkeologi E4 Uppland – studier II, 497-509.  Uppsala, Societas Archaeologica Upsaliensis. [Eng. translation: Discussion, To reach the other side: burial and ritual in Uppland Sweden]

Edited Books

Ekblom, A. and Notelid, M (2012). Miljöhistorier: personliga, globala, lokala historier om dåtid, nutid och framtid. Uppsala, CSD Uppsala och Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia. [Eng. translation: Environmental Histories: Personal, Global, Local stories about Past, Present and Future]

Notelid, M. (2007). Att nå den andra sidan: om begravning och ritual i Uppland. Arkeologi E4 Uppland – studier II. SAU. [Eng. translation: To reach the other side: burial and ritual in Uppland Sweden]


Notelid, M. (2001). Det andra påseendet, del II. Den omvända diskursen. OPIA 23 (Diss.). Uppsala. [Eng. The reversed discourse]

Notelid, M. (2000). Det andra påseendet. En studie av övergångar i den arkeologiska disciplinens historia. OPIA 22 (Diss.). Uppsala. [Eng. translation: The second glance. A study of transitions in the archaeological discipline]

Notelid, M. (1993). Nibble. Tryckt rapport från. Arkeologikonsult AB (MIAB-projektet, ett samarbete mellan Uppsala universitet och Arkeologikonsult AB). Upplands-Väsby.

Web Publications/other publications

Ekblom, A., Notelid, M. (2012)  Natur skövlas i miljöns namn.  Debattartiklel. Uppsala nya tidning 22 Juni.

Notelid, M. (2007a). Interview with Charles Villa Vicencio (http://www.nai.uu,se/lectures/villa-vicencio_interview/)

Notelid, M. (2007b). Briefing paper: “International trade rules can help or hinder” (

Notelid, M. (2007c). Briefing paper: “Information, ideas and knowledge should be accessible for all people”


Notelid, M. (2009). Viking weapons in Estuna Churchyard, Uppland, Sweden. Unpublished report

Conference papers (refereed)

Notelid, M. (1998a). Archaeology between Scylla and Charybdis. Pre-circulated Papers for the Interdisciplinary Socrates seminars, Cult and Belief in the Viking Age, a Period of Change, Uppsala 1-10 juni 1998.

Notelid, M. (1998b). The ritual issue in a science ”presupposing a corpse”. Paper delivered at The 4th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Göteborg, 25/9 1998.

Notelid, M. (1997). Seeing activity ‘as’ ritual: A hermeneutical stance for the archaeology of ritual. Paper delivered at The 96th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington DC, 27/11 1997.