Carl-Gösta Ojala

My name is Carl-Gösta (C-G) Ojala. I’m a researcher in archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University. My main research interests include history and heritage in Northern Fennoscandia and northern Russia, Sámi history and archaeology, Russian and Soviet archaeology, histories of archaeology, as well as issues of heritage, identity, nationalism, indigeneity, colonialism, politics, cultural rights and ethics.

I’m currently working with the research project Bronze Age Landscapes in the North: Contacts between Central Sweden and Northern Sweden during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (2019–2021), together with Karin Ojala. The aim of the project is to examine the relationship between Mälardalen and the northern Swedish coastal regions during the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. A special focus will be on “eastern” objects which have been discovered in central and northern Sweden. Central to the study are questions about regional differences, regional identities and interregional contacts. Another aim is to critically examine the division between North and South in the study of the Bronze Age, as well as other prehistoric periods. Therefore, an important question will be how the images of contacts between the northern Swedish coast and Mälardalen have developed in a research historical perspective.

In recent years, I have worked in two research projects, together with Jonas M. Nordin from the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm and other researchers, focusing on the early modern colonial history in Sápmi, and its legacies today. The first project Collecting Sápmi: Early Modern Globalization of Sámi Material Culture and Sámi Cultural Heritage Today (2014–2018) aims to examine early modern interest in and collecting of Sámi material culture and to follow the movement of Sámi objects between scholars and collectors around Europe. The aim is also to discuss the legacies of the early modern collecting and the importance of the collected objects today, including repatriation and revitalization processes. The second project A Colonial Arena: Landscape, People and Globalization in Inland Northern Sweden in the Early Modern Period (2014–2017) deals with industrialization, mining and missionary campaigns in the Sámi areas in northern Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries, and colonial history and heritage in Sápmi today. Both projects are funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Read more about the two projects (now completed):

Collecting Sápmi

A Colonial Arena

I have also participated in the project Understanding the Cultural Impacts and Issues of Lapland Mining, which is funded by the Academy of Finland (2015–2018; project leader Vesa-Pekka Herva, University of Oulu). This project deals with histories of mining in Northern Fennoscandia, as well as present-day conflicts over mining.

In my research I’m also interested in exploring comparative perspectives on histories of archaeology and concepts of ethnicity, nationalism and indigeneity in the Nordic countries and Russia and the Soviet Union. I was the project leader of the research project Arctic Origins: Archaeology and the Search for the Origins of the Northern Peoples in the East and the West, funded by the Swedish Research Council (2011–2015), which examines the changing views on the origins of the Sámi and other northern populations, and the roles of the northern areas and the northern peoples in the national/imperial archaeological narratives, in the Nordic countries and Russia and the Soviet Union, from the 19th century until today.

In 2009, I finished my doctoral dissertation, Sámi Prehistories: the Politics of Archaeology and Identity in Northernmost Europe, at Uppsala University. The dissertation examines Sámi (pre)history and Sámi archaeology, partly from a research historical perspective, and partly from a more contemporary perspective, dealing with issues of identity politics, cultural heritage and archaeological ethics, such as debates on Sámi heritage management, cultural rights and repatriation of Sámi cultural heritage and reburial of Sámi human remains.

It is possible to read the dissertation in full text online:


Last modified: 2022-02-01