Erika Hagelberg

Image of Erika Hagelberg
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22855324
Visiting address Blindernveien 31 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1066 Blindern 0316 Oslo

Academic Interests

My main research interests are in the fields of ancient DNA typing, human molecular genetics and molecular evolution. My early work was on the development of methods to extract and analyze DNA from archaeological bones. In the 1990s, I worked on the earliest applications of bone DNA typing in forensic identification, including the first use of microsatellite DNA in forensics. I participated in the identification of the skeletal remains of Josef Mengele and of the Romanov family. 

Since the early 1990s, I have worked on the origin and migration of human populations. Projects include the colonization of the Pacific and Southeast Asia, genetic variation in Norwegian populations, and analysis of bone DNA from the crew of the Mary Rose. Other interests include history of science, research ethics, and the marketing of genetic identity. At the University of Oslo, I teach postgraduate courses on the evolution of language and cognition, and scientific writing.

With Professor Johann Rasmus Brandt, University of Oslo, we have completed an interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Research Council of Norway: Thanatos: dead bodies - live data. A study of funerary data from the Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantine town Hierapolis in Phrygia, Turkey.

I am currently participating in the research project “Race and ethnicity and the science of human genetic variation 1945-2012", funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s SAMKUL-program. 

In 2016 I was awarded a Cheney Senior Fellowship in the Arts at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds, UK.



Tags: Ancient DNA, Evolution, Human evolution, Bioarcheology, Mitochondrial DNA

Selected publications

Bjørnstad G., Hagelberg E (2017). Analysis of DNA in skeletal material from Hierapolis. In J. R. Brandt, E. Hagelberg, G. Bjørnstad & S. Ahrens, eds. Life and Death in Asia Minor from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Times (Studies in Funerary Archaeology, vol. 10). Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 219-227.

Brandt J.R., Ahrens S., Wenn C.C., Hagelberg E., Bjørnstad G. and others (2016) Liv og død i Hierapolis: Norske utgravninger i en hellenistisk-romersk-bysantinisk by i Lilleasia. Viking (Norsk archeologisk årbok). 79: 193-220 (DOI:

Hagelberg E. (2016). El origen biológico del pueblo rapanui: Polynesia ó Sudamérica? Manuscript submitted to Anales Museo de Historia Natural de Valparaiso. In press.

Hagelberg, E. Genetic studies on the Rapanui. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific (eds. Burkhard Vogt and Annette Kühlem). Forschungen zur Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, German Archaeological Institute. In press.

Hagelberg E. (2016) Genetic affinities of the Rapanui. In: Skeletal Biology of the Ancient Rapa Nui, ed. G.W. Gill & V. Stefan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 182-201.

Motti J. M. B., Hagelberg E., Lindo J., Malhi R., Bravi C. M., Guichón R. A. (2015) Primer genoma mitochondrial en restos humanos de la costa de Santa Cruz, Argentina. Magallania (Chile). 43: 119-131.

Chunxiang Li, Chang Ning, Erika Hagelberg, Hongjie Li, Yongbin Zhao, Wenying Li, Idelisi Abuduresule, Hong Zhu, Hui Zhou (2015). Analysis of ancient human mitochondrial DNA from the Xiaohe cemetery: Insights into prehistoric population movements in the Tarim Basin, China. BMC Genetics, Jul 8;16:78. doi: 10.1186/s12863-015-0237-5.

Krzewińska M., Hagelberg E. The archaeogenetics of the North Atlantic region. In Bill, J., ed. Returning to Gokstad: the art and science of revisiting monumental burials in Scandinavia. Aarhus University Press. In press.

Hagelberg E. (2015). Molecules through time. The Royal Society: blog to celebrate 350 years of scientific publishing, 29 May 2015.

Hagelberg E., Hofreiter M., Keyser C. (2015) Ancient DNA: the first three decades. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370: 20130371.

Krzewińska M., Bjørnstad G., Skoglund P., Olason P. I., Bill J., Götherström A., Hagelberg E. (2015) Mitochondrial DNA variation in the Viking Age population of Norway. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370: 20130384.

Hagelberg, E. (2014) Molecular genetics and the human settlement of the Pacific. In: Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki in New Light, ed. Ingjerd Hoëm, The Kon-Tiki Museum Occasional Papers, 14: 132-142.

Cui Y., Li H., Ning C., Zhang Y., Chen L., Zhao X., Hagelberg E., Zhou H. (2013) Y chromosome analysis of prehistoric human populations in the West Liao River Valley, Northeast China. BMC Evol. Biol. 2013 Sep 30;13:216. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-216.

Hagelberg E. (2013) The Evolution of Language. In: In Search of Universal Grammar (ed. T. Lohndal). John Benjamins, Amsterdam. pp. 301-326.

Hagelberg E. (2012) Digging into our past with DNA. Nicolay Arkeologisk Tidskrift. Issue Miljøarkeologi, No. 118, 21-27.

Hagelberg E. (2012) Analysis of DNA from bones. In: More Than Just Bones: Ethical Reflections on Research Involving Human Remains. Edited by H Fossheim. Forskningsetiske komiteer.

Hagelberg E. (2010) Må avvise rasebegrepet. Aftenposten, 20 April 2010, Oslo. (

Hagelberg E. (2008) Review of Hans-Jürgen Bandelt, Vincent Macaulay and Martin Richards (eds.): Human mitochondrial DNA and the evolution of Homo sapiens. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006. Human Genetics, 123: 535.

Hagelberg E, Cox M, & Frame I (2008) A genetic perspective on the origins and dispersal of the Austronesians: mitochondrial DNA variation from Madagascar to Easter Island. In: Past Human Migrations in East Asia, ed. A. Sanchez-Mazas et al., Routledge: Oxford. pp. 356-375.

Lie B.A., Dupuy B.M., Spurkland A., Fernandez-Viña M.A. Hagelberg E. Thorsby E. (2007) Molecular genetic studies of natives on Easter Island: evidence of an early European and Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool. Tissue Antigens, 69, 10-18.

Casas M. J., Hagelberg E., Fregel R., Larruga J. M., Gonzalez A. M. (2006) Human mitochondrial DNA diversity in an archaeological site in al-Andalus: Genetic impact of migrations from North Africa in medieval Spain. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 131, 539-551.

Hagelberg E. & Frame I. (2005) The genetic affinities of the Mary Rose crew: DNA analysis of the skeletal remains. pp 557-563. In: Before the Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose, edited by J. Gardiner, Portsmouth, Mary Rose Trust, Archaeology of the Mary Rose, Volume 4.

Hagelberg E. (2005) DNA history and the Mary Rose. pp 643-648. In: Before the Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose, edited by J. Gardiner, Portsmouth, Mary Rose Trust, Archaeology of the Mary Rose, Volume 4.

Hagelberg E (2005) Thor Heyerdahl inspirerte verden. Aftenposten, 19 February 2005, Oslo.

Hagelberg E. (2005) Review of Human Evolutionary Genetics by M.A. Jobling et al., Ancient DNA by S. Hummel, and Out of Eden by S. Oppenheimer. Antiquity, 79 (303), 196-199.

Hagelberg E. (2004) Genetics in the study of human history. Agder Vitenskapsakademi Årbok 2003. Ed. Thor Einar Hanisch. Høyskoleforlaget –Norwegian Academic Press, Kristiansand.

Gill P. & Hagelberg E. (2004) Ongoing controversy over Romanov remains. Science, 306: 407-10.

Thangaraj K., Singh L., Reddy A G., Rao V. R., Sehgal S. C., Underhill P. A., Pierson M., Frame I. G., Hagelberg E. (2003) Genetic affinities of the Andaman Islanders, a vanishing human population. Current Biology 13, 86-93.

Hagelberg E. (2003) Implications of mitochondrial DNA recombination for human evolution. Opinion, Trends in Genetics, 19, 84-90.

Hagelberg E. (2003) Boy’s Own. Review of The Seven Daughters of Eve by B. Sykes, Mapping Human History by S. Olson and The Journey of Man by S. Wells. London Review of Books, 25 (22), 31-32.

Hagelberg E. (2002) Review of The Seven Daughters of Eve, by B. Sykes. Heredity, 89, 77.

Hagelberg E. (2001) The origin and evolution of the principal human lineages in the Pacific determined by analysis of mitochondrial DNA. Proceedings of the No-Barriers Seminar 2000, Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo.

Hagelberg E. (2001) Genetics in the study of human history: Problems and opportunities. Kroon Lecture 2000, Stichting Nederlands Museum voor Anthropologie en Praehistorie. Amsterdam.

Hagelberg E. (2001) Genetic affinities of the principal human lineages in the Pacific. In: G. R. Clark, A. J. Anderson and T. Vunidilo (eds), The Archaeology of Lapita dispersal in Oceania. Pandanus Press and the Centre for Archaeological Research, Australian National University, Canberra.

Lalueza-Fox C., Bertranpetit J., Alcover J.A., Shailer N., Hagelberg E. (2000) Mitochondrial DNA from Myotragus balearicus, an extinct bovid from the Balearic Islands. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Mol Dev Evol) 288, 56-62.

Hagelberg E., Goldman N., Lió P., Whelan S., Schiefenhövel W., Clegg J. B. & Bowden D. K. (2000) Evidence for mitochondrial DNA recombination in a human population in island Melanesia. Correction. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 267, 1595-1596.

Thomas M. G., Hagelberg E., Jones H. B, Yang Z. & Lister A. (2000) Molecular and morphological evidence on the phylogeny of the Elephantidae. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B, 267, 2493-2500.

Hagelberg E., Goldman N., Lió P., Whelan S., Schiefenhövel W., Clegg J. B. & Bowden D. K. (1999) Evidence for mitochondrial DNA recombination in a human population in island Melanesia. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B., 266, 485-492.

Hagelberg E., Kayser M., Nagy M., Roewer L., Zimdahl H., Krawczak M., Lió P. & Schiefenhövel W. (1999) Molecular genetic evidence for the human settlement of the Pacific: analysis of mitochondrial DNA, HLA and Y chromosome markers. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B, 354, 141-152.

Hagelberg E., Pierson M. (1999) Using DNA to trace the origin of Pacific peoples. NZ BioScience, 7 (4):15-16.

Thomas M. G., Cook C.E., Miller K.W.P., Waring M.J. & Hagelberg E. (1998) Molecular instability in the COII/tRNALys intergenic region of the human mitochondrial genome: multiple origins of the 9-base pair deletion and heteroplasmy for expanded repeats. Phil.Trans. Royal Soc. B, 353, 955-965.

Hagelberg E. (1998) Genetic perspectives on the settlement of the Pacific. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Easter Island and East Polynesia, The Easter Island Foundation, Los Osos, CA.

van Dooren S., Gotuzzo E., Salemi M., Watts D., Audenaert E., Duwe S., Ellerbrok H., Grassmann R., Hagelberg E., Desmyter J. & Vandamme A.-M.(1998) Evidence for a post-Columbian introduction of human T-cell lymphotropic virus [type I] in Latin America. Journal of General Virology, 79, 2695-2708.

Poulton J, Marchington D, Brown MS, Phillips D, Hagelberg E. (1998) Does a common mitochondrial DNA polymorphism underlie susceptibility to diabetes and the thrifty genotype? Trends in Genetics 14: 385-387.

Hagelberg E. (1997) Genetics in Archaeology. In: B.M. Fagan (ed.) Oxford Companion to Archaeology, pp 246-248. Oxford University Press, New York.

Monsalve M.A. & Hagelberg E. (1997) Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms in Caribs of Belize. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B. 264, 1217-1224.

Hagelberg E. (1997) Ancient and modern mitochondrial DNA sequences and the colonization of the Pacific. Electrophoresis, 18, 1529-1533.

Corach D., Penancino G., Sala A., Ianucci N., Bernardi P., Doretti M., Fonderbrider L., Ginarte A., Inchaurregui A., Olmo D., Somigliana C., Turner S. & Hagelberg E. (1997) Novel approaches to DNA typing of skeletal remains: The search for "missing" persons killed during the last dictatorship in Argentina. Electrophoresis, 18, 1608-1612.

Hagelberg E. (1997) Six Scandinavians and a parrot. Wellcome News. Issue 12, 40.

Hagelberg E. (1996) Mitochondrial DNA variation in ancient and modern humans. Advances in Forensic Haemogenetics 6 (ed. A. Carracedo, B. Brinkmann & W. Bär) pp. 3-10, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Hagelberg E. (1996) Mitochondrial DNA in ancient and modern humans. In: Molecular Biology and Human Diversity (ed. A.J. Boyce & C.G.N. Mascie-Taylor), pp. 1-11, Cambridge University Press.

Miller K.W.P., Dawson J.L. & Hagelberg E. (1996) A concordance of nucleotide substitutions in the first and second hypervariable regions of the human mtDNA control region. International Journal of Legal Medicine 109, 107-113.

Hagelberg E. (1996) Molecular Archaeology. Science Spectra, No. 6, 64-69.

Hagelberg E. (1995) Review of L.L. Cavalli-Sforza, P. Menozzi & A. Piazza. The history and geography of human genes. (Princeton University Press, 1994). Antiquity 69, 177-179.

Hagelberg E. (1995) Genetic affinities of prehistoric Easter Islanders: Reply to Langdon. Rapa Nui Journal. 9 (1), 16-19.

Hagelberg E. (1995) Moleculare Archäologie: Ein Fenster in die Vergangenheit. In: Neue Orizonte 95/96 (ed. E.P. Fischer) pp. 75-107, Piper, Munich.

Hagelberg E. (1994) DNA in bone. In: B. Herrmann & S. Hummel (eds.) Ancient DNA, pp 195-204. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Hagelberg E. Quevedo S., Turbon D. & Clegg J.B. (1994) DNA of prehistoric Easter Islanders. Nature 369, 25-26.

Gill P., Ivanov P.L., Kimpton K., Piercy L., Benson N., Tully G., Evett I., Hagelberg E. & Sullivan K. (1994) Identification of the remains of the Romanov family by DNA analysis. Nature Genetics. 6, 130-135.

Hagelberg E. (1994) The DNA detectives. Science & Public Affairs, Summer 1994, 32-37.

Hagelberg E. (1994) Bone DNA typing for forensic identification. Ancient DNA Newsletter, 2, 9-10.

Hagelberg E. (1994) Analysis of DNA from archaeological and forensic bone. Biomolecular Palaeontology Lyell Meeting Volume (NERC Earth Sciences Directorate Special Publication 1/94) 39-41.

Hagelberg E., Thomas M.G., Cook C.E, Sher A.V., Baryshnikov G.F. & Lister A.M (1994) DNA from mammoth bones. Nature 370, 333-334.

Thomas M.G., Miller K.W.P., Cook C.E. & Hagelberg E. (1994) A method for avoiding mis-priming when sequencing with Dynabeads. Nucleic Acids Research 22: 3243-3244.

Hagelberg E. (1994) Ancient DNA studies. Evolutionary Anthropology 2, 199-207.

Hagelberg E. & Clegg J.C. (1993) Genetic polymorphisms in prehistoric Pacific islanders determined by analysis of ancient bone DNA. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 252, 163-170.

Hagelberg E. (1993) Review of Molecular Applications in Biological Anthropology (Edited by E. J. Devor, Cambridge University Press) Trends in Cell Biology 3, 319.

Hagelberg E. (1993) DNA from archaeological bone. The Biochemist 15,17-22.

Hagelberg E. (1992) Amplification of DNA from ancient bone. NERC News, No. 20, 18-19.

Jeffreys A.J., Allen M., Hagelberg E. & Sonnberg A. (1992) Identification of the skeletal remains of Josef Mengele by DNA analysis. Forensic Science International 56, 65-76.

Hagelberg E. (1992) DNA in bones. World Archaeological Bulletin 6. 110-111.

Hagelberg E. (1991) Molecular Archaeology. Analytical Proceedings 28, 152-153.

Hagelberg E. & Clegg J.B. (1991) Isolation and characterisation of DNA from archaeological bone. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 244, 45-50.

Hagelberg E., Gray I.G. & Jeffreys A.J. (1991) Identification of the skeletal remains of a murder victim by DNA analysis. Nature 352, 427-429.

Hagelberg E., Bell L., Allen T. et al. (1991) Analysis of ancient bone DNA: techniques and applications. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 333, 399-407.

Hagelberg E. (1990) "Bones Dry Bones", Times Higher Education Supplement, 14 December.

Hagelberg E., Sykes B. & Hedges R. (1989) Ancient bone DNA amplified. Nature 342, 485.

Stewart G.S., Johnstone K., Hagelberg E. & Ellar D.J. (1981) Commitment of bacterial spores to germinate. A measure of the trigger reaction. Biochem. J. 198. 101-106.

Published Nov. 3, 2010 3:26 PM - Last modified May 31, 2017 11:05 AM