Heidi Mjelva Breivik

Archaeological work experience

2007–2009  Research assistant
 NTNU, Museum of Natural History and Archaeology.
Main activities and responsibilities: Publication of excavation results, editorial work; processing of finds and documentation from archaeological excavations.
2009–2010 Executive officer
Employer: NTNU, Museum of Natural History and Archaeology. 
Main activities and responsibilities: Registration of archaeological artifacts, general work with archives and databases.
2005–2010 Supervisor / site assistant
 NTNU, Museum of Natural History and Archaeology; Museum of Cultural History (University of Oslo); Museum of Bergen (University of Bergen).
Main activities and responsibilities: Manager of the site on daily basis; processing of finds, data and documentation; writing report; practical fieldwork and documentation. Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Mediaeval sites.
2010–  Phd-candidate
Employer: NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim), Museum of Natural History and Archaeology. Title and topic: Colonization and use of new lands. Early Mesolithic coastal settlements in Northwest Norway.


2001-2004 Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology
Provided by: NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim)
2004-2006  Master of Arts in Archaeology
Provided by: NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim)

Colonization and use of new lands

The project revolves around the topic: The earliest settlers and their relations to the surroundings. The object is to study social organization, level of mobility and technological traditions within early marine societies, with environmental changes and dynamics in biotopes and marine resources as underlying factors. The project focuses upon the Late-glacial–Post-glacial transition, and comprises the Younger Dryas (11,000–9500 cal. BC) and the Early Mesolithic chronozone (9500–8000 cal. BC). The main area of study is the coast of Northwest Norway. On a national basis this region is especially rich with sites from the Early Mesolithic period. This situation will be further investigated by asking the question: Was the northwest coast a preferred habitat for early settlers, or does the abundance of Early Mesolithic sites merely reflect favorable circumstances for making archaeological discoveries?

Southwest Sweden has been emphasized as an important area for the colonization of the Norwegian continent, and carries likewise a great number of Early Mesolithic sites (Schmitt et al. 2006, 2009). It has also been pointed out that the setting of Early Mesolithic sites on the Norwegian coast is strikingly parallel to the West Swedish conditions (Bjerck 2008, 2009). The relation between these areas will be examined by comparing sites from Northwest Norway and the Bohuslän region, searching for patterns of mobility, settlement location and use of tools and technology. The seascape of Tierra del Fuego, on the tip of South America, also carries great resemblances to the coast of Norway (Bjerck 2009). The archaeological and osteological record from these sites can serve as a reference towards an understanding of the emergence of marine societies and the adaption to coastal environments.

Central in the project is mobility and social organization within a regional perspective. Although the production of tools seems relatively constant and standardized a comprehensive analysis of Early Mesolithic artefacts may reveal technological traditions, and hence illuminate questions about movements in the landscape. The attribute analysis will be executed on artefacts from both coastal and inland sites in Northwest Norway. Another striking feature of the Early Mesolithic technocomplex is the high number of arrowheads, both in coastal and inland contexts. The arrow is commonly associated with terrestrial mega fauna – a resource which is not characteristic to the coastal areas: Can the same complex of tools reflect a specialized adaption to different biotopes?


  1. Bjerck, H.B. 2008. Norwegian Mesolithic Trends: A Review. In Bailey, G. & P. Spikins (eds.) Mesolithic Europe, 60-106. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Bjerck, H.B. 2009. Colonizing Seascapes: Comparative Perspectives on the Development of Maritime Relations in Scandinavia and Patagonia. Arctic Anthropology 46(1-2): 118-131.
  3. Schmitt, L., S. Larsson, C. Schrum, I. Alekseeva, M. Tomczak, K. Svedhage 2006. 'Why They Came'; The colonization of the coast of western Sweden and its environmental context at the end of the last glaciation. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 25 (1), 1–28.
  4. Schmitt, L., S. Larsson, J. Burdukiewicz, J. Ziker, K. Svedhage, J. Zamon and H. Steffen, 2009. Chronological Insights, Cultural Change, and Resource Exploitation on the West Coast of Sweden during the Late Palaeolithic/Early Mesolithic Transition. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28(1), 1-27.