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Research Network for Archaeological Studies of Inland Fishing (SINFISH)

Inland fishing has traditionally been an important supplement to farming and hunting in large parts of Scandinavia. SINFISH aim to provide new and significant knowledge about these fishing traditions, from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages.

Trout caught in a Norwegian mountain lake.
Photo: Elling Utvik Wammer, Norsk Maritimt Museum

Despite recent research, many economic, chronological, technical and social questions related to inland fisheries remain partly unexplored; such as the economic importance of inland fish as a resource in different time-periods, the fishing methods employed, and the cultivation practices related to fish, such as moving and introducing fish species to new lakes and rivers.

The main objective for the research network “Archaeological Studies of Inland fishing” is to provide novel knowledge of prehistoric and Middle Age fisheries, through studies of fish bones, fishing equipment, fishing sites and sites where fish were processed, stored, and consumed. Our primary area of study is the interior of Scandinavia, but materials from coastal sites must occasionally be included for comparison. Our studies will be based on data from new excavations and the existing archaeological record. The network will also be a platform for integrating archeometric (e.g. ancient DNA, isotopes, lipids, and osteological studies) and experimental approaches in the research of fishing.

The SINFISH network will apply new scientific and experimental methods to study materials in museum collections and utilize them as part of upcoming field campaigns. To broaden our understanding of the technical and social aspects of fishing, fishing equipment, fish-processing and various other uses of fish, experimental archaeology and ethnoarchaeology will be employed. In this way, novel information of past fisheries can be gained, and new approaches introduced to Norwegian and Scandinavian archaeology.

The network`s secondary objective is to increase the interest of inland fisheries among the research community and the broader audience. We will implement research projects at different scales, publish peer-reviewed articles, contribute at conferences, arrange workshops and perform experimental studies.

Fishing has a deep history and is a popular leisure activity today. A study of fishing technologies may thus serve as a means to connect the past to the present and make an impact on public appreciation of archaeology and existing fishing resources. Results will be disseminated in media, on social media and public lectures and events.


The network is open for researchers working with past fishing in inland Scandinavia; it will serve as a platform for developing and executing research projects and be used to share information. Participants in the network will contribute with internally financed research time and apply for externally finances of research projects on different scales.

Network holders


Published Oct. 20, 2020 9:33 AM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2021 2:32 PM