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Mette Løvschal Awarded DKK 2,6 million in Grants

Within just two weeks IMC researcher Mette Løvschal was awarded not one but two postdoctoral grants worth a total of DKK 2,6 million. We talked to the happy IMC archeologist about the two projects and what the grants mean for her future plans.

Løvschal with her Ph.D. dissertation (photo: Lars Pallesen)
Lines in the landscape – some as old as 4000 years
The skeleton remains from several iron age warriors from Alken Enge

A Quiet Smile

What can possibly be better than receiving a postdoctoral grant? Why two grants of course! And that's exactly what happened to Mette Løvschal recently - one from the Danish Council for Independent Research and the other from the Carlsberg Foundation. It's no wonder then that she looks pleased with the situation when I talked to her.

- "Needless to say, I felt very privileged and very thankful. I was sitting on the train home from Copenhagen in the quiet zone when I got the news about the FKK grant. This was sort of an anticlimax, but I did smile to the other passengers", says Mette and smiles again. The grant from FKK is for an individual postdoc for the project: ‘Time and causality: a non-linear approach to prehistoric landscape changes’.

Ancient Land Parcels

- "In the 1st and 2nd millennium BC southern Scandinavia, the parcelling up of the landscape represented an extensive change in the layout of the landscape as well as a new social attitude towards land as something that could be exchanged and inherited – an attitude which can be traced far into modern times", explains Mette. "But the reasons why land started to be parcelled up in the first place remain largely unknown: we simply do not know how quick the process was, and can only speculate about why it began."

With the grant from FKK Mette Løvschal plans to make an extensive collection and production of new high-resolution dates and environmental data at micro-regional level and compare them with existing data on large-scale chronological trends.

- "This could give us a better idea of specifically why land began to be divided.  But it is also my hope to be able to develop alternative approaches to traditional, linear causal reasoning in long-term cultural and conceptual changes", says Løvschal and points out that this is a topic which is already receiving much attention at IMC.

The Warriors in the Bog

The second grant Mette received from Carlsberg is part of a collective project: Hær og efterkrigsritual i jernalderen – De dræbte krigere i offermosen i Alken Enge i Illerup Ådal. The project is an investigation of the now internationally famous archaeological site Alken Enge where a large armed conflict resulted in a huge deposition of human bodies in the Early Iron Age.

- "My part of the project will be to investigate practices of post-war rituals across northern Europe 200 BCE-200 AD with a particular focus on the role of landscape perception and the possible transmission of ideas and ideological concepts across very large distances.", says Mette.

Peace of Mind and Passion

"What does these two grants mean for you, personally and professionally", I ask Mette.

- "First of all it means that the next three years are covered for me and that I don’t have to think about employment or how to be able to finance my research", she says. "Furthermore, I hope to be able to develop and position this research field in the current debates and fundamental questions for understanding long-term cultural changes. Both projects are something that I am completely passionate about and something that I have wanted to do for years."

We at IMC congratulate Mette Løvschal with the two grants and wish her all the best with both projects.