Ella Kivikoski
Humanist of the day

Ella Kivikoski

Ella Kivikoski was professor of Finnish and Nordic Archaeology. She was the first woman to gain a doctorate in the subject and the first woman professor in the Faculty of Arts. As she saw it, the fact that she was a woman had little bearing on the work of an archaeologist. Kivikoski’s students remember her as a demanding but motherly figure.

Ella Kivikoski

Ella Margareta Kivikoski
Born May 25, 1901, Tammela. Died July 27, 1990, Helsinki

Bachelor of Arts (History), 1930, Master of Arts, 1932, Licentiate of Philosophy (Archaeology), 1939, Doctor of Philosophy, 1940, University of Helsinki

Professor of Finnish and Nordic (until 1968 Scandinavian) Achaeology, University of Helsinki, 1948–69
Docent, Finnish and Nordic Achaeology, University of Helsinki, 1941–48
Supernumerary amanuensis, 1932–33, Amanuensis 1933–47, Head of Division, 1947–48, Muinaistieteellisen toimikunnan esihistoriallinen osasto (‘prehistoric department of the national board for archaeology’)

Member of the editorial board, Acta Archaeologica, 1954–1980
Journalist, Suomen Museo, 1953, 1956–76

Chairwoman, Finnish Assocation for Ancient Monuments, 1962–68
Member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 1949

Honorary Member, Fibula ry, 1969; Svenska arkeologiska samfundet (‘Swedish archaeological society’), 1973; Finnish Antiquarian Society, 1976
Commander, Order of the White Rose of Finland, 1968
Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland, 1955

Named after Kivikoski
Finnish Antiquarian Society’s medal, 1981

Photo: Museovirasto
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by
John Calton

Ella Kivikoski matriculated from Forssa Grammar school in 1919. However she did not enter higher education immediately, as before commencing her university studies, she worked as a clerk in her father’s bank for several years. Kivikoski eventually enrolled to studying history and Finnish language and received her BA from the University of Helsinki in 1930.

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Ella Kivikoski, Professor of Finnish and Nordic Archaeology, felt that her professorship brought many accompanying duties. Nevertheless, she found them very pleasant, whether they were in the form of publications or teaching. Kivikoski felt that it was a serious deficiency that the field of archaeology lacked a general work covering the whole of Finland, and writing such a book became one of her greatest undertakings. The book was finally published in 1961 under the name Suomen esihistoria (‘Finnish prehistory’).

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