The complex challenges addressed through heritage science research require extensive interdisciplinary collaboration, and the broad membership of the HSS network speaks to the diversity of research activity within the field. HSS participants include representatives working directly in the cultural heritage sector, and educational and industry representatives working in engineering, technology, humanities, and physical, life, and social sciences.
The network brings together competence and resources in the cultural heritage sector, advanced technology, and laboratory and scientific expertise to develop scientifically grounded, creative responses to societal challenges. HSS work is run through a collaboration group which is in turn convened and administered by the National Heritage Board’s working group.
The National Heritage Board’s working group: Cultural Preservation Department (Stefan Nilsson, Kaj Thuresson, Marei Hacke)
Membership of the network is without cost or obligation.
For updates regarding ongoing events and activities, please join our Facebook group Heritage Science Sweden
Participants in the HSS collaboration group
The Heritage Laboratory is a materials and analysis laboratory that is adapted to the needs of museums and the cultural environment. The laboratory is specifically designed to conduct work in heritage science, and incorporates spaces for analysis and practical method development, with individual laboratories intended to function as flexible units for project-driven activities. The Heritage Laboratory has resources for a number of different types of activities, such as wet chemical analysis, spectroscopic analysis and technical imaging, X-ray, microscopy, climate and ageing experiments. There is also equipment for advanced material testing and analysis, and for documentation and conservation of material culture. The laboratory hosts collaborations with guest colleagues, and supports interdisciplinary research in heritage science at both national and international scales.
Research and education at the Department of Cultural Preservation spans a wide range of questions about the identification and analyses of cultural heritage values. How should we nurture and utilise objects and buildings, landscapes and gardens? How can we value and prioritise? Through knowledge of the past, we can understand and develop our time. The department operates in two locations, Gothenburg and Mariestad. In Gothenburg, conservators, building antiquarians and leaders in handicrafts and cultural crafts are trained. Educational activities in Mariestad focus on construction crafts, garden crafts and landscape care.
The Environmental Archaeological Lab, MAL, is a national resource that engages in consultancy, research and development in environmental archaeology. The laboratory acts as a national research infrastructure in environmental archaeology and conducts environmental archaeological research and analysis on behalf of companies and organisations across the Nordic region. How was waste disposed of in prehistory? What kind of landscape did the rock carving artists of Northern Sweden look at when they had a break? How can we date an ancient field with the help of methods from the natural sciences? Why did the Vikings place seeds and roots in their graves? These are just a few of the question which have been posed to the Environmental Archaeology lab, and which can be answered through the application of a variety of analysis methods applied in a well-established research environment.
SciLifeLab, Science for Life Laboratory, is an institution for the advancement of molecular biosciences in Sweden. The Ancient DNA unit collaborates with leading researchers in the field, providing access to the latest developments in methods and technology. The unit operates on at-cost basis, and in addition provides subsidised analysis for Swedish and international research users. Analysis of ancient DNA allows investigation of humans, animals, plants and other organisms that lived a long time ago. Preserved DNA constitute a part of our cultural heritage and can assist in analysis of the development of human societies and our shared history. Ancient DNA is also a time capsule that increases our understanding of the ecology and the evolution of life in the past.
Cultural conservation is about the right of all people to have access to and influence how cultural heritage is defined, selected, protected and used. Today’s cultural preservation is the result of a long tradition with roots in the 17th century, but each generation must take a stand and think about the questions – what, how, why and for whom? This applies regardless of whether it is a piece of furniture or a national urban planning programme. Cultural heritage is thus a resource of importance for the change of modern society. The department delivers training and undertakes research in cultural conservation with a focus on architectural and object curation, and sustainable cultural heritage.
The Department of Information Technology facilitates research into an immeasurable number of exciting questions and areas, covering a wide range of areas and methods for applying computers and data analysis in a variety of scientific and educational contexts. Our researchers simultaneously conduct individual inquires and drive collaborative projects with links to applications in a diverse spectrum of fields. Students, teachers and researchers at the Department of Information Technology collaborate with both industry and society, covering a wide range of areas through their work with graduate theses, guest lectures and research collaborations.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering strives to find technical solutions that improve the environment and other living conditions for people. The department has innovative researchers, state-of-the-art facilities and a highly collaborative research environment that can take on technical and societal challenges both now and in the future. Research divisions within the department include Applied Material Science, Applied Mechanics, Nanotechnology and Functional Materials, and Solid State Physics. The department is engaged in education and research of a predominately experimental nature, and collaborates extensively with both Swedish and international academic and industrial partners.
The Department of Archeology and Ancient History at Lund University is one of the oldest and largest archeological departments in Sweden. The department consists of five schools: Ancient Culture and Social Life, Archeology, Historical Archeology, Historical Osteology, and DARK Lab – the laboratory for digital archeology. The department delivers training in the analysis and interpretation of a variety of source materials, from small burnt bones to large, magnificent buildings. Research incorporates both material culture and written sources, such as ancient historical works and inscriptions. Great emphasis is placed on how both things and text can be combined to achieve a deeper understanding of the past. The department is also focused on research on cultural heritage issues and on the use of the past in our time.
LINXS is an advanced study institute whose mission is to promote science and education focusing on the use of neutrons and X-rays, to attract world-leading scientists for short-term focused research visits, and to create international networks. LINXS works to advance the scientific possibilities, capabilities and limits of knowledge for as many different disciplines, areas and communities as possible. Research takes place within five thematic groups: Northern Lights on Food, Imaging, Dynamics, Integrative and Structural Biology, and New Materials. The institute’s ‘imaging’ research theme covers acquisition, processing and applications in imaging that are relevant to systems using synchrotrons and neutron sources. Researchers consider all possible length scales and subjects accessible with modern and future methods, with a focus on finding new image reconstruction and analysis techniques that can help to extract meaningful information from x-ray/neutron imaging data. The institute’s ‘new materials’ research theme aims to push forward the development and characterisation of new materials with potential future applications in the fields of energy and sustainability.
The Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology (FPT) is the largest academic department in Sweden in the field of natural and synthetic polymers. The combination of the traditionally different areas of natural and synthetic polymers is unique, and enables FPT to meet future requirements for sustainable material use in society. Research areas within FPT include Biocomposites, Fibre Technology, Polymeric Material, Polymer Technology, Wood Chemistry and Pulp Technology, and Surface Treatment Technology. Research activities at FTP cover everything from monomer and polymer synthesis, characterisation, modeling and simulation, processing, long-term properties, material performance, and degradation to functional materials.
At the Archaeological Research Laboratory, scientific methods are combined with traditional archaeological methods and theory to solve archaeological problems. The interdisciplinary nature of this research area is demonstrated through integration across several subjects and faculties within Stockholm University. The unit is unique in Scandinavia due to its broad focus on biological, chemical, physical and geological analysis methods, applied to archaeological source material without chronological limitation. Notable research projects conducted within the unit include, Svealand in Vendel and Viking Age, Castles and fortifications, Gender and diet during the Neolithic, and studies of the food culture of the Late Iron Age.
Researchers in Applied Chemistry at CTH work in a number of different areas of chemistry, and research is conducted primarily with a focus on application. In polymer-related research, the relationships between the structural properties of macromolecules and the final properties of products are studied. Examples are base plastics, biopolymers and conjugated polymers. Surface chemistry research concerns partly wet surface chemistry, based on the behaviour of surfactants in water and at interfaces, and partly dry surface chemistry, which mainly comprises heterogeneous phase catalysis. Research in pharmaceutical technology focuses on the use of lipids and polymers in drug formulations and other biotechnological applications. Research seeks to work across traditional institutional boundaries, with other universities, and with industrial partners.
The Swedish National Archives contain both the sources of our history and the tools to understand the time we live in. The Swedish Archive includes administration of state, and from private companies, organisations and individuals. The archive’s core business is receiving, storing and making archives available to in-person, and digital researchers. In addition, the archive team care for diverse objects including heraldic weapons and historical flags, publish guidance on archival handling and care, produce archival storage products, and undertake research relating to the sustainable care and interpretation of archival collection materials.
Design is everywhere and affects us all. From morning to night, day after day. The Röhsska Museum brings together things, people and perspectives from different times, to challenge our notions of design and society. The Röhsska Museum collects historic and contemporary design and craft with a focus on deepening the relevance of the history of design. Research at the museum seeks to deepen the knowledge of the collections and enrich the museum’s work with new perspectives.
The National Museum is Sweden’s art and design museum, and is a government agency tasked with promoting the arts. In total, the collections consist of approximately 700,000 objects from the 16th century to the present day, and incorporates paintings, sculptures, miniatures, handicrafts, designs, drawings, graphic sheets and portrait photographs. The National Museum’s mission includes expanding and deepening knowledge of the museum’s areas of responsibility, with research projects conducted by both the museum’s own staff and external researchers to meet those requirements. The richness of the collections and the employees’ high scientific competence are considered amongst the National Museum’s greatest strengths. It is important that the museum’s curators and educators are given the opportunity to delve into the collections, to develop knowledge and methods that contribute to increasing collection understanding and engagement for all.
The Vasa Museum is part of the State Maritime and Transport History Museums (SMTM), which is a state authority under the Ministry of Culture, with the task of keeping maritime and transport history cultural heritage alive and increasing knowledge about it. The Vasa, a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628, forms the central museum exhibit, and is an inexhaustible source of knowledge about 17th century Sweden. Although half a century has passed since the ships recovery, many questions remain about her contents, and the life ways of her crew, and these form the basis of ongoing research activities at the museum. Interdisciplinary research is also conducted on the preservation of the ship. Stötta Vasa, a research project underway since 2012, has collected and analysed data to inform the design of a new structural support device. Research at the museum is coordinated by an authority-wide Cultural Heritage Unit.
Moderna Museet is one of Europe’s leading museums for modern and contemporary art, and occupies two sites at Stockholm and Malmö respectively. As a state institution, the museum is tasked to collect, preserve, share and exhibit modern art from the early 20th century and photography from 1840 and onwards. The Moderna Museet art collection comprises more than 130,000 works in various media including an extensive photographic collection of some 100,000 items. The museum manages its cultural heritage based on the highest standards of excellence, and generates research that leads to high-quality international collaborations and recognition. The museum seeks to reflect and revise society’s view of history, and engage in the present by being a platform for dialogue, debate, and interaction. The conservation department is responsible for the long-term perpetuation and maintenance of the collection through preservation activities and active conservation, for the collection in its entirety and of individual works for exhibition, loan and deposition. Conservation research activities include documenting the works of art and the processes employed in their creation, and studies to characterise artistic materials, identify mechanisms of deterioration, and devise protocols for conservation.
The Museum of Gothenburg houses one of Sweden’s largest cultural and historical collections, formed through a merger with several former museums; The Industrial Museum, The School Museum and The Museum of Theatre History. The collections comprise archival materials, and objects relating to archaeology, cultural and industrial history. The museum engages in research and consultation around the theme of the cultural environment, and seeks to preserve and develop cultural and historical values for a sustainable future. Through assignment from the Cultural Committee of the City of Gothenburg, the museum works with assessments, archaeological field-investigations and surveys, planning and building permit issues, research, knowledge building and advice.
The Maritime Museum and Aquarium explores life under, on and above the surface of the water, bringing visitors closer to maritime culture as well as its varied forms of life, from historical and scientific perspectives. The museum’s exhibitions explore the relationship between man and the sea over the ages, illustrate Swedish maritime cultural history, and promote the idea of a living sea. Currently under renovation, the newly opened museum will offer experiences across generational boundaries and will be a place where dramatic mythology and the latest research meet.
With an internationally acclaimed collection, a solid exhibition program, in-depth research and a wide range of educational activities, the Gothenburg Art Museum is one of northern Europe’s foremost museums for visual art. Based on a broader understanding of what an art museum can be, the Gothenburg Art Museum both shows and acquires a breadth of visual expressions that include art, children’s book images and cartoons. In both exhibitions and new acquisitions, there is a strong focus on Nordic contemporary art where the work’s uniqueness, rather than technology, is in focus. Thanks to the museum’s research department, collaboration with external researchers and universities has been intensified, and has provided a significant basis for highlighting relevant issues for the museum’s activities. The museum’s book series ‘Skiascope’ publishes research that sheds light on questions about museums, art life and art history writing.
Schools, houses or hospitals – regardless, it must first be drafted, planned and designed, and then built, managed and later maybe demolished and recycled. Constructed environments present challenges associated with the environmental impact of materials, the construction process, costs and the effect on people. Research within the Built Environment Unit at RISE focusses on the entire construction process in terms of its value chain, circularity, quality assurance, and digitisation. Tomorrow’s construction is undergoing a system transition, and RISE helps customers to make knowledge-based decisions in the face of this major transition. Knowledge is developed through applied research, and evaluation and experimentation with new technologies. Research includes concepts such as energy-efficient buildings, construction techniques, materials, sound and vibration, moisture damage, and indoor environments. As technological advancement proceeds at an ever-increasing pace, work is carried out in close collaboration within industry, academia and research institutes.
Design encourages new ways to think, act, collaborate, plan and implement changes. Design helps individuals to navigate a complex society, make challenges manageable and visualise future scenarios. RISE is using design and prototype-driven design processes to challenge preconceptions, limitations, and problems, in order to better understand the needs of people and the planet, and to identify new opportunities and innovations. The Design Unit works with transformative methods, with expertise ranging from interaction design, product design and sound design to visualisation and user experiences. Prior research in the cultural heritage sector includes assessment of virtual reality (VR) and interactive visitor experiences in relation to communicating ‘difficult’ or ‘traumatic’ historical events, and mobile application development with GPS localisation for self guided cultural tourism.
The unit for dimension and position operates Sweden’s national measurement site for length and dimension measurement technology and is responsible for the traceability of, and the realisation of, the SI unit for length (meters). The national survey site maintains standards at the highest level for length and dimensional measurements within Sweden in order to provide industry, academia and laboratories with quality-assured traceability at the right level for their individual needs. The area includes, among other things, length standards, sensors, shape, surface smoothness, laser instruments, scales, angle measurement and more. As a national centre for quality-assured measurement technology the Dimension and Position Unit has been designated as a Swedish national surveying site for several entities, actively coordinating with academia, business and authorities to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness. This includes everything from research and development of applied methods based on basic academic research, to multi-disciplinary areas such as digitalisation in industry, 3D technology for additive manufacturing, Life Science and Autonomous Transport.
The cities and communities of the future are sustainable and viable. There are smart integrated systems for mobility, water, energy and materials. In smart cities, waste is considered a resource and is reused or recycled. Resilient cities are equipped for climate impact, where green and blue areas dampen the effect of large amounts of water, contribute to biodiversity, better health and greener urban environments. The cities promote integration, interaction and experiences and offer a well-functioning, safe everyday life. RISE expertise in community construction brings together, among other things, construction technology, energy systems, circular conversion, infrastructure, ICT and design. Through development and innovation, the unit helps cities to make a sustainable transition. Research creates benefits for business and society through networks, strategic innovation programs, innovation platforms and large challenge-driven projects, both nationally and at EU level. Within the unit’s test and demonstration environments, new technologies, materials, processes and services are tested and verified. In addition, researchers work with long-term strategies and policy change.
‘The Pink’ is the RISE design-driven ecosystem where applied research for society is carried out. The platform spearheads innovation and sustainable social transformation, and is an experiential window towards the future. The ecosystem provides a platform where partners are able to use facilities, methodologies, tools and services, and where everybody is expected to bring his or her own expertise and interests alive for others, within the community. As part of RISE, the eco-system has relationships with both public and private sectors, and connections to cultural institutions, academia, non-governmental organisations, industry and enterprise at regional, national and international scales.
Tyréns is one of Sweden’s leading consulting companies in community construction, with a focus on sustainable solutions in urban development and infrastructure. Through purposeful investment in research and development in the field of community building, Tyréns works closely with universities and colleges to create better conditions for cities, today and in the future. Research at Tyréns supports innovation in the buildings, industry, infrastructure, climate and the environment, community planning, and water resource management sectors.