Author Archive

Forthcoming events

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
29 March 2021, kl 18.00 – 19.30 (Central European Time) – Cornelius Holtorf will be in conversation with Nicole Deufel discussing Future Archaeology at Volkshochschule Aalen (via Zoom). The conversation will be in German.

In diesem Gespräch mit Prof. Dr. Cornelius Holtorf geht es um „Zukunftsarchäologie“. Dieser Begriff scheint zunächst ein Widerspruch zu sein, verbindet man Archäologie doch in der Regel mit der Vergangenheit und ihrer Erforschung. Aber gerade diese Expertise der Archäologie, nämlich das Wissen um zeitliche Veränderungen, ist es auch, die sie auf einzigartige Weise dazu befähigt, über die Herausforderungen der Zukunft nachzudenken. Die Zukunft ist ungewiss, und schon heute zeichnen sich vielfältige Herausforderungen ab, vom Klimawandel bis hin zur Überalterung der menschlichen Gesellschaft. Welche Aufgaben die Archäologie in diesem Zusammenhang konkret übernehmen kann, ist deshalb eine wichtige Frage der Zukunftsarchäologie. Dieser wollen wir in diesem Gespräch nachgehen.

More details and registration (free, by 29/3 12 noon) here.

Tankefigur Utopia

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Maja Heuer har skrivit en fri spåning kring olika möjligheter vad Världsarvet Örlogsstaden Karlskrona skulle kunna bidra med till samhället 2050. På uppdrag av Unescoprofessuren skapade hon en kreativ vision inför en möjlig framtida utveckling av Världsarvet i Karlskrona.

Kolla och fundera: hur ska det bli? Vilken framtid för ett världsarv? Vad har vi världsarven egentligen till för?

Interview with Cornelius Holtorf

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Now available: Britta Rudolff’s interview (27 min) with Cornelius Holtorf on “heritage futures”, recorded as part of Britta’s teaching in the Introduction to Heritage Site Management Masters course at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg (28 January 2021).

“Heritage And Our Sustainable Future”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

I am attending this week and next the digital conference “Heritage And Our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact“, organised by the UNESCO Commission for the UK and attended by an audience or more than 300 people from around the world. Ernesto Ottone (Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO) contributed with an introductory note.

In a discussion on heritage in relation to disaster response and resilience, Joe King (ICCROM) agreed with my call for more ethnographic research on what heritage actually does in societies by suggesting that we need to build capacity among heritage managers to learn that heritage conservation is not always part of the solution in conflict situations but can also be part of the problem.

Similarly, Charlotte Andrews from Bermuda suggested that maybe the community could be asked what they want to be restored and what not, as there could be benefits from some destruction too, which we saw recently in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Future in Heritage Studies

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf was invited to present a digital lunchtime seminar on “The Future in Heritage Studies and its Future” at the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre, University of Cambridge (4 February 2021).

For an audience of almost 70, Holtorf reviewed the significance of the future in heritage studies, arguing that the anticipated needs and benefits of heritage for specific future generations have very rarely been explicitly addressed or critically discussed. As heritage is increasingly linked to the Agenda 2030, the significance of the future in heritage studies becomes ever more important and a critical engagement with this notion and its meaning is urgently needed.

The UNESCO Chair om Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University attempts to make a difference in that respect by building global capacity for futures thinking among heritage professionals.

What is the point of time capsules?

Friday, January 1st, 2021

Jason Feifer recorded an interesting podcast on “How to Communicate With the Future” (45 min). Feifer is sceptical about time capsules and other such endeavours to send messages to the future. Among others, the podcast contains an interview with Jon Lomberg, designer of the Voyager Golden Record launched in 1977. 

Feifer argues that time capsules are not much good for what they purport to achieve and mostly a way of helping ourselves finding meaning and patterns in our own present. What we should do instead of constructing time capsules and other messages to the future is to build a better world today so that future generations do not need to receive any additional information because they already have what they need from us.

Archaeology Today – now in print

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Our unique colouring book Archaeology Today (for children and adults alike!) is now available

Various activities October – December 2020

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

Cornelius Holtorf attended the ICOMOS General Assembly Marker Event hosted by Australia ICOMOS in Sydney, on the occasion oft the planned physical General Assembly what was postponed to 2023. (7 October 2020)

Cornelius Holtorf commented for the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO on the First draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. (18 October 2020)

Cornelius Holtorf attended the online conference on “Humanities and Social Sciences for Sustainability – Cultural and regional dimensions of global sustainability” (21-22 October 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf took part in a meeting with regional politicians, civil servants and experts in the Counties of Kronoberg and Uppsala concerning progress in the nomination process of a serial UNESCO World Heritage site on “The rise of systematic biology”, currently the only site on the Swedish tentative list (22 October 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in the World Heritage Council meeting for the World Heritage site “Agricultural Landscape  of Southern Öland” in Kastlösa, Öland (23 October 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf contributed with a Q&A session on heritage futures, sustainable development, and cultural resilience in the context of UNESCO to a course taught by Annalisa Bolin on “Rights and Ethics in Heritage” at Stanford University, USA (27 October 2020)

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg attended a meeting of the Expert Group on Awareness Preservation associated with the Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management (WP-IDKM) at the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) based in Paris to discuss its Programme of Work 2020-2022 (4 November 2020) 

Cornelius Holtorf attended the First General Assembly of the global Climate Heritage Network, of which the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures is a member. The meeting featured among others a presentation on culture and climate action by Karima Bennoune, Professor of Law at UC Davis and UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights (16 November 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a lecture (on zoom) entitled “Der Coburger Weg – Eine Archäologie” for 12 students attending a seminar class on Was bleibt vom Coburger Weg? at Hochschule Coburg, Coburg, Germany (20 November 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf attended a Webinar of the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group on The Role of Cultural Heritage in Building Environmental Resilience (20 November 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a keynote talk on “What academic freedom may mean in the humanities” for ca 40 participants of the international zoom conference Academic Freedom and Social Change organized by Linnaeus University (24 November 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf commented on the draft Action Plan for implementing the National World Heritage Strategy sent out for consultation by the Swedish National Heritage Board (1 December 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf co-chaired and Anders Högberg and Annalisa Bolin participated in a series of project meeting bringing together 20 representatives of the regional tourist industry and researchers of Linnaeus University to discuss “Post-Pandemic Tourism Development”. The project is funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation (3 December 2020, 4 February 2021, MORE TO BE ADDED HERE LATER). 

Cornelius Holtorf had meeting discussing future collaboration with Louise Hoffman Borgö and Elene Negussie working at the Swedish National Heritage Board with implementing the new World Heritage Strategy for Sweden (11 December 2020 and 3 February 2021).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in the Annual General Meeting of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Interpretation  and Presentation (ICIP) (14 December 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a talk on “How to institutionalize a ‘people-centered-approach’ to heritage” for an international project based at Kyushu University, Japan, working on Developing Methodologies for Integrated Governance to Protect Cultural Heritage (17 December 2020).

Cornelius Holtorf commented on an ICOMOS draft document on “Cultural Heritage for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A Policy Guidance for All Cultural Heritage and Development Actors” (27 December 2020).

Wow! The Future is calling!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

After years of thinking, drawing, writing, editing and re-editing, illustrator Pernilla Frid and archaeologist Cornelius Holtorf published a unique children’s book (which is really for adults).

Wow! The Future is calling! is a picture book coming out of Cornelius Holtorf’s longstanding research at the interface of heritage and the future. When illustrator Pernilla Frid was invited to apply her skills, she was immediately attracted to work in this context and with innovative concepts. The point is to convey the variety and richness in which we can engage with the future. The book gives many examples, both in the way the main characters act, representing three different ways of relating to the future, and in the many details, which surround them.

Copyright © 2021. Text & illustrations: Pernilla Frid & Cornelius Holtorf. All rights reserved. Contact:,

Brazilian futures thinking

Monday, December 28th, 2020

What is the role of cultural heritage in constructing futures?

An interview on “cultural heritage building up future thinking” between Cornelius Holtorf and the Brazilian archaeologist Tiago Muniz, published (in English and Portuguese) in Cadernos do Lepaarq 17, no. 34, 2020, 337-

A pdf is directly accessible here