Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I graduated the University of Tartu (Estonia) as an archaelogist / osteologist in 1993. After that I worked at different Estonian Medieval archaeological sites (St. John’s in Tartu, Kambja church and others). In 1995 I defended a masters thesis at the Central European University (Budapest) on the palaeodemography of a Medieval population from Tartu. The work was done on skeletal material.
In 1995 my scientific interests switched from osteology to science history. Since then I have been working on academic positions at the Museum of Tartu University History, Estonian National Defence College and the Institute of Public Health at the University of Tartu. My present position is a lecturer of the history of medicine at the Institute of Public Health.
My fields of interest in science history have been the history of eugenics, history of race studies and medicine and natural sciences under totalitarianism.


About the research

„Physical anthropology and Estonian nation-building“
The so-called national awakening of Estonians started in the middle of the 19th century. The challenge of the national elites was to organise the Estonian-speaking lower ranks of the population into a modern nation. The main criteria to define a nation in Estonia became the language but not only.
Due to the general intellectual atmosphere in the second half of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century the definition of ethnicity did contain also aspects related to the biological characteristics of a particular human stock. Estonians according to the concepts of 19th century were an ethnic group with „no history“. Thus a slogan was hailed by which Estonians should abandon the tradition of „written history“ for the sake of „natural history“.
In Estonia both the matters of quantity and quality became a concern. First – the number of Estonians was few, thus a so-called small nation’s self perception became to dominate Estonian national thought, and the fear of becoming extinct a dominating collective paranoia of the nation. Secondly there existed theories placing Estonians (as other Finnic people) into the Yellow (Mongoloid) race. The latter position in the atmosphere of the era was not favourable, and thus had to be questioned. The issues of quality were fostered also by the already mentioned small-nation’s self perception by which one possibility for a small nation to survive is to stand high by one’s talented members (wri

Ken Kalling

Doctoral Student
Historical Osteology
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

Contact information

E-mail ken.kalling.6331ark.luse

Visiting address Helgonavägen 3, Lund

Postal address Box 192, 221 00 Lund

Internal post code 30