Carsten Paludan-Müller
Research Associate



Carsten Paludan-Müller has been the general director of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, NIKU, since 2003. The Institute employs 80 people plus project employees and is working with research and services related to cultural heritage management nationally and internationally. Carsten Paludan-Müller studied archaeology, human geography, anthropology, and history of art at the Universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge. He is Magister Artium in prehistoric archaeology from Copenhagen.

Three latest previous positions: Head of the Museum Department of the National Danish Agency of Cultural Heritage. Head of the Monuments Department, National Danish Forest and Nature Agency.  Director of the Museum of Culture History in Randers, Denmark.

In recent years, he has written about the relationship between cultural heritage and posterity, museums, cultural environment, landscapes, and urban spaces, the long development of empires and nation states and the use and abuse of history and heritage in the process. A leading argument in his work is that the material remains from the past can only be preserved, as a living part of the present.

From 2004- 2010 he was board member and treasurer of the European Association of Archaeologists.

Since 2006, he has contributed as an expert to the Council of Europe's activities to follow-up the Faro-Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, and in the preparation of the revision of other cultural heritage conventions.

He was scientific advisor to the five year CRIC project 2008-12, led by the University of Cambridge, Institute of Archaeology, and financed under the EU 7th framework program. CRIC has investigated processes of cultural heritage (re-)construction and memorialisation after violent conflicts (6 case studies across Europe). The project is currently under publication.

He has been working with the World Bank in the organization of the 2012 workshop “Harnessing the Hidden Potential of Cities – Can Cultural Heritage Investment Support Inclusive Urban Development.” (Proceedings published in a report with the same title).

He has moderated international conferences (2015 in Sofia and Oslo) on the destruction of and illicit trade with cultural heritage in the context of war with a specific focus on the war in Syria and is involved in various initiatives related to the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict.

He is currently (2016) working with Swedish TV on a series on the destruction of cultural heritage.

Since 2010 he has been working on a Turkish – Armenian project on cultural heritage financed by the Norwegian MFA. The project aims at using cultural heritage as an asset and a platform for cross border cooperation and for generation of local community value (employment and income).

From 2009-2012 he was external board member at The Institute for Archaeology, Conservation and History at The University of Oslo.

Since 2012 Chair of the European Heritage Prize committee.

Since 2010 Corresponding member of Deutsche Archäologische Institut.

Since 2015 member of the board of the Polytechnic Association (Polyteknisk Forening).

Since 2016 Research associate, of the University of York, Department of Archaeology.



Current research interests:

  • The role and potential of cultural heritage in construction and deconstruction of identities – use and abuse in the context of conflict.
  • Cultural heritage as an asset for economic development in development programs.
  • Landscapes and cities as complex cultural heritage.
  • The dynamic relationship between power and space through time (long term geopolitics).
  • The Roman Empire as a role model and reference.


Selected publications

2008 Rome - The Parallactic Observation of the Empire, In Konstantinos Chilidis, Julie Lund & Christopher Prescott (eds.), “Facets of Archaeology, Essays in Honour of Lotte Hedeager on her 60th Birthday”, University of Oslo, Oslo Archaeological Series Vol 10.

2008 The need for an archaeology of Europe. Reasons and perspectives, Archaeological Dialogues 15 (1) 48-51. Cambridge University Press.

2008 Europa før, under og efter nationalstaten – reflektioner over identitetspolitk og – historie. In, Lars-Eric Jönsson, Anna Wallette and Jes Wienberg (eds.). Kanon och Kulturarv 290-318. Makadam Förlag Centrum for Danmarksstudier vid Lunds Universitet.

2009 Europe – A constrained and fragmented space on the edge of the continental landmasses. Crossroad, battlefield and melting pot. In Heritage and Beyond, Council of Europe, Strasbourg.

2010 Actors and orders: The shaping of landscapes and identities. In Bloemers et al. The Cultural Heritage & Heritage Paradox. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.

2012 The imperial mirror: Rome as reference for empire. I D. M. Totten og K. L. Samuels (red.): Making Roman Places Past and Present, pp. 145-158. Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary series 89. Portsmouth, Rhode Island: Journal of Roman Archaeology.

2012 Harnessing the Hidden Potential of Cities – Can Cultural Heritage Investment Support Inclusive Urban Development. Edited with Inge Lindblom. NIKU. Oslo.

2013 Paludan-Müller, C. On Rivers, Mountains, Seas and Ideas - or What Vast Spaces and Long Lines Mean to Culture and History. in: Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen. Archaeopress 2013 p.p. 617-622

2013 Paludan-Müller, C. Caring about the past requires care for the present. In Agneta Lagerlöf (ed.) “Who cares? Perspectives on Public Awareness, Participation and Protection in Archaeological Heritage Management, pp. 87- 91. EAC Occasional Paper No. 8. Namur.

2015 Paludan-Müller, C. Postscript 2 When Memory Takes Place pp. 261-268. In Marie Louise Stig Sørensen and Dacia Viejo-Rose (eds) “War and Cultural Heritage: Biographies of Place” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2015.


Selection of commissioned public reports and background papers:

2006 Cultural Identities, Shared Values and European Citizenship. Council of Europe, DGIV/ID(2006)27E, Strasbourg 10 November 2006

2008 Cultural heritage and intercultural dialogue – old and new challenges to our minds and hearts. Background paper published by The Council of Europe for the Islamic-Arab-European culture conference in Baku 3-4th of December 2008.

2009 CREATIVITY IN HERITAGE INTERPRETATION – Faro and beyond Council of Europe, CDPATEP(2009)18. 28 April 2009 (Background paper)


Contact details

Dr Carsten Paludan-Müller
Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor