JMA Chair: Anders Fischer researches the earliest population history of present-day Denmark

JMA Chairholder
Portrait of JMA Chairholder Anders Fischer (photo: Jan Steffen).

In recent years, new methods and tools of studying ancient DNA have considerably expanded our knowledge of the origins and development of the European population during the Stone Age. In the process, many traditional conceptions have been challenged. The Danish archaeologist Anders Fischer has been researching the early population history and life-ways in the western Baltic region for many years, combining archaeological with anthropological, genetic and isotope-analytical methods. He is currently visiting Kiel as Chair of the Johanna Mestorf Academy. During a public lecture at the Kiel Conference 2023, he will present his current work, but also the political and philosophical questions that can arise from it for the present.

Anders Fischer studied prehistoric and European archaeology at the Universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus. He received his doctorate from Aarhus University in 1989. He has long worked in the field of archaeological heritage management for Danish authorities, most recently for the Danish Heritage Agency, Danish Agency for Culture and Castles of the Ministry of Culture. Since 2017, he has worked as a freelance archaeologist, managing projects for the Danish National Museum and the Universities of Copenhagen and Gothenburg, among others.

He has also been working with colleagues in Kiel for many years, for example with Cluster Roots member John Meadows from the Leibniz-Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research at Kiel University. "During my time in Kiel, I am was now able to make even more contacts. There are many colleagues working here who have a very good knowledge of early humans throughout Europe and have the appropriate methods to expand the knowledge even further. That helps me a lot for my regional questions in Denmark," says Fischer.  Additionally, it indicates a large potential in future co-operation on early population historical topics by integrating methods and data from both sides the Baltic Sea.

For the Dane, he says himself, research on early population development in the western Baltic region is particularly exciting. "In Denmark, it is a widespread idea that we are directly descended from the first hunter-gatherers who came north after the Ice Age. But genetics suggest at least two complete population changes during the Stone Age, which may not necessarily have been peaceful. It will be interesting to see if and how these findings are treated in a public discourse," says Fischer.

Anyone interested in learning more about Anders Fischer's research, collaborations with colleagues in Kiel and implications for modern politics will have the opportunity to do so on Wednesday, 15 March 2023, at 15.30 in the Klaus Murmann Lecture Hall.

All information on the JMA Chair Public Lecture: Link

Download Flyer here: Link


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions