Asle Bruen Olsen (1951-2018)

Asle Bruen Olsen died suddenly and unexpectedly July 13th 2018, only 66 years old. We lost a good colleague and a treasured friend. Asle worked at the University Museum at the University of Bergen in Norway for his entire career, and was a member of the EAA.

Asle gained his Magister degree in 1981 on a dissertation on Stone Age quarrying and distribution of diabase axes in western Norway. His thesis and the following article in 1984 together with Sigmund Alsaker in Norwegian Archaeological Review became instant classics and are still considered central to the understanding of stone axe production in Northern Europe.

During the following years, he led a large number of archaeological excavations for the University of Bergen connected to cultural heritage management (CRM). He was a strong proponent that CRM excavations should be guided by cutting-edge theory and apply the newest scientific methods. He showed this in practice when he was appointed leader of the excavation of the large Stone Age site Kotedalen at Fosnstraumen in Hordaland County in Western Norway in 1986 and 1987. In close collaboration with botanists and zoologists, he achieved astonishing results on hunter-fisher-gatherer economy, settlement patterns, and early agricultural practice. Even though his main academic interest was the early prehistory of Norway, he also published on later periods, particularly when CRM excavations led to the uncovering of new and interesting data (for which he had a well-developed flair). Examples are the excavations of Iron Age circular dwelling structures – probably old judicial sites – in Nordfjord and Voss in western Norway, and a spectacular Viking Age grave with numerous tools for metalworking in Sogndal in Sogn and Fjordane County in western Norway.

From 2004 and until he died, Asle was the leader of the excavation unit at the University Museum in Bergen. He worked hard to establish the unit as a modern and effective tool for the cultural heritage management. During this period, a marked increase took place in the number of CRM excavations in western Norway, and consequently a marked increase of his staff. Nevertheless, in addition to heavy administrative tasks, he participated in the field as much as he could, and a large number of students in archaeology have experienced him as an inspiring and knowledgeable teacher.

Asle grew up in Trondheim, central Norway. However, western Norway was his arena, and few people knew this regions’ archaeology, as did Asle. He wore out several cars on his travels on narrow roads on his way to fieldworks and surveys. During the last few years, his travels often also went to his cabin by the Sognefjord or to his house in Portugal, where he enjoyed staying with his family. In addition to being a gifted and dedicated archaeologist, Asle was also a family man, and our thoughts go to his family during this difficult time.

Knut Andreas Bergsvik (University Museum, University of Bergen) and Randi Barndon (Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen)

Ericka Maria Thrash Engelstad (24.02.1947-17.07.2018)

Ericka Engelstad has passed away. From Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, Ericka Engelstad began her career as a BA student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, then attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from where she was awarded her PhD in 1980. While still a graduate student, in 1972 she moved to northern Norway, where she carried out fieldwork for the Tromsø Museum. She was employed as associate professor at this university museum from 1981until 1991, when she was appointed Professor of Archaeology at the then Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tromsø. She retired from this position 31.12.2015. In the period 1991-1996 she was editor-in-chief of Norwegian Archaeological Review, 1992-1995 of the innovative journal KAN (Kvinner i Arkeologi i Norge /Women in Archaeology in Norway), and she served on the EAA executive board from 2010 to 2013.

Through her long career Ericka engaged in a wide range of topics. Her early fieldwork in Norway inspired her continuous interest in hunter-gatherer archaeology, which was also the topic for her PhD. Characteristic for Ericka's research was her readiness to engage in new theoretical perspectives and approaches. Thus her publications on northern hunter-gatherers ranged from early considerations of subsistence and seasonality, through statistical analyses of house types, to evaluation of concepts such as sedentism, interest in household archaeology and representations of gender in rock art. She also took great interest in ethics in archaeology, and in her later active years in human-animal relations.

However, it was her contribution to gender and feminist archaeology that won her wide international recognition. From the mid-1980s onwards she played a central role in Scandinavia and internationally in integrating gender and feminist perspectives in archaeological research and in raising the awareness of gender inequality in academia. She was involved in establishing KAN, she was the first director of the Centre for Women and Gender Research at the University of Tromsø, and she was a member of the EAA community Archaeology and Gender in Europe (AGE). She co-organised the Women's World Conference in Tromsø (1999). Just as importantly, she was in high demand internationally for talks and workshops addressing topics at the intersection between gender, anthropology and archaeology. Ericka was a strong supporter and role model for many younger female scholars. Some of her key publications are “Images of Power and Contradiction: Feminist Theory and Post-processual Archaeology” (Antiquity 1991), “Desire and Body Maps: All the Women are Pregnant, All the Men are Virile, but …" (Theoretical Perspectives on Rock Art, 2001) as well as the interdisciplinary anthology Challenging Situatedness. Gender, Culture and the Production of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press 2005), which she co-edited with Siri Gerrard.

For her pioneering activities in gender archaeology she was awarded two honorary doctoral fellowships in Sweden, first in Uppsala (2006), then in Gothenburg (2012).

Ericka will be sorely missed in many institutions around the world. Our thoughts go to her husband, Professor Knut Helskog, and the rest of the family.

Charlotte Damm, Arctic University of Norway (

Henry Cleere (2.12.1926–24.8.2018)

It is with deep and sincere sadness that the EAA has heard about the recent passing of Henry Cleere, one of the instrumental founding fathers of the Association, our first Secretary and thereafter for many years the Editor of The European Archaeologist. In 2002 Henry was the recipient of our European Archaeological Heritage Prize, in recognition of his contribution to the internationalisation and modernisation of archaeological heritage management in Europe over the previous 25 years. Until very recently, Henry continued to support and contribute to our Annual Meetings and play an important advisory role in the governance of the Association.

Henry’s diverse and inspirational career in heritage management included being Director of the Council for British Archaeology (1974-1991) and World Heritage Coordinator for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS, 1992-2002). He was awarded an Honorary Professorship in Archaeological Cultural Management by University College London in 1998.

A tribute

by Kristian Kristiansen (

I first met Henry when he paid me a visit in Copenhagen around 1980 when I was a new and very young head of the Archaeological Heritage in Denmark. He was visiting people and heritage institutions around Europe in order to collect material for his planned book ‘Approaches to the Archaeological Heritage’, which came out in 1984. We immediately found each other, irrespective of the age difference, and Henry also brought his wife and small daughters if I remember correctly. From then on we would meet at regular intervals in various European initiatives, not least in the formation in the ICAHM, which was Henry’s idea, and where he was also a driving force behind the ICAHM charter on archaeological heritage. He graciously suggested that the Swedish State Antiquarian, Margaretha Biörnstadt should be first president of ICAHM, also active in the initiating group. These were days of new ideas about a new kind of heritage, cross-cutting borders and nationalities.

Later when I started mobilizing people to help create first a Journal of European Archaeology, and then the European Association of Archaeologists, Henry of course became member of the founding group, where we used his extensive experience in formulating the statutes, and he was a natural choice for EAA secretary, when we got started with me as first president. He was also the driving force behind the EAA Code of Conduct, which is still in force.

You were never in doubt about Henry’s priorities, politically and archaeologically, but always forwarded them with humour and preferably over a good beer. A few times, he could explode when members of the founding group kept repeating arguments he considered ridiculous, but I dare say without his abilities as unofficial secretary during the founding phase, we would not have been able to get the EAA off the ground so efficiently. He was a great negotiator as well, and I always felt safe with Henry at my side. A man of many talents, we were fortunate that he devoted his skills to archaeology in the second career of this life. I feel privileged to have worked so closely together with him in the formative years of the EAA. His life spanned much of what shaped Europe, and he contributed in his various life phases to this new Europe. When we were on excursion in the Slovenian mountains during the inaugural meeting of the EAA in Ljubljana he crossed his own paths from the Second World War, when he spent time in the same region as member of the allied troops. What a life! I shall never forget Henry and the good times we had together.

Participants of the meeting when the first EAA statutes were drafted, Bechyně, South Bohemia, June 1992. From left to right: Evžen Neustupný, Arek Marciniak, Ilse Biruta Loze, Mike Rowlands, Anna Maria Bietti Sestieri, Henry Cleere, María Isabel Martínez Navarrete, Bogdan Bruckner (Photo: Kristian Kristiansen)