Photo of Joakim Goldhahn

Joakim Goldhahn

Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art, Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 109 Citations
  • 6 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Professor Joakim Goldhahn holds the Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art. Goldhahn started to read archaeology in 1999 at Umeå University (Sweden), and defended his PhD at the same university in 2000. His main research interests includes rock art as a meaning-creating phenomenon, explored both through formal and informed methodologies. He has conducted fieldwork in Australia (2000, 2010-), northern Europe including northern Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and north-west Russia (1990-), Scotland (2002-2007), Spain (2003-2006), and Kenya (2020). His research interests also encompass the European Bronze Age – with a focus on burial rituals, monumentality, landscape perception, and ritual specialists, Theoretical Archaeology in Practice, the History of Archaeology as well as Multi-Spieces Intra-Action.

Professor Goldhahn is the author of over 190 research publications, including the recent monographs Birds in the Bronze Age: A north European perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Sagaholm: North European Bronze Age Rock Art and Burial Ritual (Oxbow Press, 2016). He also the editor of two special issues on Rock Art Worldings for the journal Time and Mind (2019), and the co-editor together with Dr Sally K. May of a special issue on Contact Rock Art for the journal Australian Archaeology (2019).

Besides these recent outcomes, Goldhahn has been involved with editing for and publishing in key archaeology journals and international publishing houses, including: Antiquity, Archaeology in Oceania, Archaeopress, Australian Archaeology, British Archaeological Report International Series, Blackwell, Cambridge University Press, Current Swedish Archaeology, Equinox Publishing, Fornvännen: Journal of Swedish Antiquarian Research; History Australia, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Field Archaeology, Norwegian Archaeological Review, Oxbow Books, Oxford University Press, Prehistoric Society (UK), Rock Art Research, Routledge, Terra Australis, and Time and Mind.

Recent research articles include:

Goldhahn, et al. 2020. Children and rock art: A case study from western Arnhem Land, Australia. Norwegian Archaeological Review. Access it here.

Goldhahn et al. 2020. Revisiting Francis Birtles painted car: Exploring the 1929/30 cross-cultural encounter between Birtles and Aboriginal artist Nayombolmi at Imarlkba gold mine, Northern Territory. History Australia.

An overview of his research publication can be found and downloaded here.


Goldhahn is engaged in several ongoing research projects including:

Pathways Rock Art Project (2017-2021) focusing on rock art in today’s Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. The project is led by Dr Sally K. May (Griffith University) in collaboration with, among others, Prof. Paul SC Taçon (Griffith University), Dr Jill Huntley (Griffith University), Dr Andrea Jandaloni (Griffith University), Dr Iain Johnston (AIATSIS), Dr in spe Melissa Marshall (Notre Dame University), Parks Australia (Kakadu National Park), and senior Traditional Owner of Djok Country, Mr Jeffrey Lee. This project is part of the 2016–2021 ARC Laureate Project Australian rock art history, conservation and Indigenous well-being (FL160100123) awarded to Prof. Paul SC Taçon.

Tjust Rock Art Project (2008-): Survey, documentation and publication relating to a previously unnoticed Bronze Age rock art area in south-east Sweden. This work has resulted in more than 800 new registered and documented rock art sites. This rock art area now is the fourth largest in northern Europe.

Other ongoing research includes:

  • Kimberley and Australian rock art
  • A biographical approach to known rock art artists
  • North European rock art
  • Moran (warrior) rock art among Samburu, Kenya
  • North European Bronze Age
  • Theoretical Archaeology in Practice
  • History of Archaeology

Roles and responsibilities

  • Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair of Rock Art (2020-)
  • Editor-in-Chief for Open Archaeology (2020-)
  • Adjunct Researcher, Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit, Griffith University (2017-2022)

Teaching overview

I am currently in a research intensive position, but I teach and supervise post-graduate students on topics related to rock art research in Australia, and overseas. I have several projects suitable for postgraduate scholars and am happy to discuss them with interested students.

Funding overview

The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (2019): “Rock art in northern Europe: A new synthesis”

Australian Research Council (2016-2018): “History Places: Wellington Range rock art in global context” (DP160101832), Awarded together with Prof. P.S.C. Taçon, Dr. L. Brady, Dr. S.K. May, Dr. D. Wright, and Prof. I. Domingo Sanz

Swedish Research Council (2008-2011): “Bredarör on Kivik – new light on an old monument” (translated here)

Crafoord Foundation for Social Sciences, Sweden (2008-2010): “Picturing rock art along the Swedish East Coast” (translated here)

Swedish Research Council (2002-2006): ”Similarities and differences between stationary and portable rock engravings” (translated here)


  • Australian Archaeological Association (2010-)
  • European Association of Archaeologists (1997-)
  • International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (2000-)
  • Society of American Archaeologists (2008-)
  • Swedish Association of Archaeologists (elected member, 2000-)

Industrial relevance

I am privileged to have been able to collaborate with various heritage institutions and stakeholders, including Aboriginal communities, government, and industry. Recent collaborations in Australia have been with Aboriginal community members from Djok, Mawng and Warrdjak clan groups in western Arnhem Land, The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Injalak Arts, as well as Parks Australia.

Previous positions

  • Professor of Archaeology, Linnæus University, Sweden (2010–2020)
  • Professor of Archaeology, Kalmar University College, Sweden (2009)
  • Senior Lecturer, Kalmar University College, Sweden (2006–2009)
  • Reader, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2003–2006)
  • Lecturer, University of Lund, Sweden (2001-2002)
  • PhD Scholarship, Umeå University, Sweden (awarded in open competition, 1997-2000)


  • English
  • Swedish
  • Danish
  • Norwegian
  • German (read only)

Education/Academic qualification

Archaeology, PhD, Umeå University

Award Date: 11 Nov 2000

External positions

Adjunct researcher, PERAUH, Griffith University Queensland

1 Apr 201731 Mar 2022

Research expertise keywords

  • Australian Rock Art
  • European Rock Art
  • European Bronze Age
  • Archaeology of Indigenous Australia
  • Archaeological Theory in Practice
  • History of Archaeology
  • Multispecies Intra-Actions

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Research Output

What Painting? Encountering and interpreting the archaeological record in western Arnhem Land

Brady, L. M., May, S. K., Goldhahn, J., Taçon, P. S. C. & Lamilami, P., Jun 2020, In : Oceania. 55, 2, p. 106–117

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Survival, Social Cohesion and Rock Art: The Painted Hands of Western Arnhem Land, Australia

    May, S. K., Taylor, L., Frieman, C., Taçon, P. S. C., Wesley, D., Jones, T., Goldhahn, J. & Mungulda, C., 1 May 2020, In : Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    ‘This is my father’s painting’: A first-hand account of the creation of the most iconic rock art in Kakadu National Park

    May, S. K., Maralngurra, J. G., Johnston, I. G., Goldhahn, J., Lee, J., O’Loughlin, G., May, K., Nabobbob, C. N., Garde, M. & Taçon, P. S. C., 2019, In : Rock Art Research. 36, 2, p. 199-213 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Birds in the Bronze Age: a North European perspective

    Goldhahn, J., 2019, 1 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 446 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • On the Archaeology of elves

    Goldhahn, J., 2020, Cognitive Archaeology : Mind, ethnography, and the past in South Africa and beyond. Whitley, D. S., Loubster, J. H. N. & Whitelaw, G. (eds.). UK: Routledge, p. 270–310 (Routledge Studies in Archaeology).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


    Oscar Montelii Prize

    Goldhahn, Joakim (Recipient), 20 Mar 2018


  • Activities

    • 6 Editorial activity
    • 2 Membership of committee
    • 1 Publication peer review

    Fennoscandia Archaeologica (Journal)

    Joakim Goldhahn (Reviewer)

    20 Aug 2020

    Activity: Editorial work or peer review of publicationsPublication peer review

    Open Archaeology (Journal)

    Joakim Goldhahn (Editor in chief)


    Activity: Editorial work or peer review of publicationsEditorial activity

    University of Bergen (External organisation)

    Joakim Goldhahn (Member)

    1 May 202030 Nov 2020

    Activity: MembershipsMembership of committee

    Kimberley Foundation Australia (External organisation)

    Joakim Goldhahn (Member)

    25 Aug 202024 Aug 2023

    Activity: MembershipsMembership of committee

    Time and Mind: the journal of archaeology, consciousness and culture (Journal)

    Joakim Goldhahn (Guest editor)

    6 Sep 2019

    Activity: Editorial work or peer review of publicationsEditorial activity