Mari Tõrv

Mari is a bioarchaeologist whose tasks in the Archemy are related to human osteology and dietary stable isotope studies. Being interested both in the biological and cultural aspects of past peoples she tries to bridge humanities and natural sciences in her research, by applying the methods of archaeology, osteology, archaeothanatology but also biochemical archaeology (with a focus on dietary stable isotopes) to reconstruct past life and death ways. After obtaining her PhD at the University of Tartu and Kiel University (CAU) in 2016 she has continued to study past death ways in Eastern Baltic from different prehistoric periods. Currently she is involved in a project aiming at establishing a stable isotope baseline for the prehistoric Estonia. At the Archemy she will develop a stable isotope laboratory in cooperation with the chemistry and geology department that focuses on the analysis of ancient tissues.  

Since 2017 she is leading the transdisciplinary collegium of archaeology, genetics and linguistics at the University of Tartu to initiate transdisciplinary cooperation. Since 2020 she is also the PI of the digital humanities project „The Ethnic History of Estonian Peoples in the light of new research“ at the  Department of Archaeology in University of Tartu.  In addition to her research she supervises university students and has been involved to the creation of several archaeology-related museum exhibitions. 


  1. Brinker, U.; Bērziņš, V.; Ceriņa, A.; Gerhards, G.; Kalniņš, M.; Krause-Kyora, B.; Lübke, H.; Meadows, J.; Meinel, D.; Ritchie, K.; Rudzīte, M.; Tõrv, M.; Zagorska, I.; Schmölcke, U.; (2020). Two burials in a unique freshwater shell midden: insights into transformations of Stone Age hunter-fisher daily life in Latvia. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12, 97. 
  2. Tõrv, M. (2019). Persistent Practices. A Multi-Disciplinary Study of Hunter-Gatherer Mortuary Remains from c. 6500–2600 cal. BC, Estonia. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum, Band 9. Wachholtz Verlag–Murmann Publishers, Kiel/Hamburg. 
  3. Varul, L.; Galeev, R. M.; Malytina, A. A.; Tõrv, M..; Vasilyev, S. V.; Lõugas, L.; Kriiska, A. (2019). Complex mortuary treatment of a Corded Ware Culture individual from the Eastern Baltic: A case study of a secondary deposit in Sope, Estonia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 24, 463−472. 
  4. Malmstrom, H.; Gunther, T.; Svensson, E. M.; Juras, A.; Fraser, M.; Munters, A. R.; Pospieszny, L.; Torv, M.; Lindstrom, J.; Gotherstrom, A.; Stora, J.; Jakobsson, M. (2019). The genomic ancestry of the Scandinavian Battle Axe Culture people and their relation to the broader Corded Ware horizon. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286 (1912).
  5. Mittnik, A.; Wang, C.-C.; Pfrengle, S.; Daubaras, M.; Zariņa, G.; Hallgren, F.; Allmäe, R.; Khartanovich, V.; Moiseyev,V.; Tõrv, M.; Furtwängler, A.; Andrades Valtueña, A.; Feldman, M.; Economou, C.; Oinonen, M.; Vasks, A.; Balanovska, E.; Reich, D.; Jankauskas, R.; Haak, W. … Krause, J. (2018). The genetic prehistory of the Baltic Sea region. Nature Communications, 9 (442), 1−11.
  6. Tõrv, M.; Meadows, J. (2015). Early Bronze Age Burials from the Riigiküla I and Kivisaare settlement sites, Estonia. Radiocarbon, 57 (4), 645−656.


  1. Tõrv, M.(2019). Archaeothanatology – a rigorous approach for reconstructing past mortuary rituals. – Investigating bones: diet, health, environment in the Baltic region (Vilnius, Lithuania, 4.- 5.10.2019) 
  2. Tõrv, M. (2019). Emerging Diversities. Hunter-gatherer mortuary practices in Eastern Baltic during the 7th to 3rd millennia cal. BC.  International Open Workshop 2019: Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI. (Kiel, Germany, 11.–15.3.2019) 
  3. Tõrv, M. & Oras, E. (2018). Teadlase huvi kohtub näituse eksponaadiga – reflektsioon Kukruse emanda näitel. –  58th Annual Conference of Estonian National Museum “Exhibitions versus Science? Dilemmas, searches and solutions.” (Tartu, Estonia, 11.4.2018) 
  4. Stutz, L. N.; Stjerna, R. P. & Tõrv, M. (2017) Looking through the archives of buried lives. A multitemporal dialogue with the dead. – 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Maastricht, Netherlands, 30.8–3.9.2017). 
  5. Mittnik, A.; Wang, C.-C.; Pfrengle, S.; Daubaras, M.; Hallgren, F.; Allmäe, R.; Tõrv, M.; Jankauskas, R.; Haak, W.;  Schiffels, S.; Krause, J. (2017). The Northern fringe of early farming in Europe – insights from ancient genomes. – 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Maastricht, Netherlands, 30.8–3.9.2017). 
  6. Varul, L.; Tõrv, M.; Kriiska, A.; Saag, L.; Metspalu, M.; Lõugas, L. (2017). A case study of secondary burial from Corded Ware culture in Estonia – problems and results. – 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Maastricht, Netherlands, 30.8–3.9.2017). 
  7. Tõrv, M. (2016) How close is close? Faunal baselines in the Eastern Baltic region. – 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Vilnius, Lithuania, 31.8–4.9.2016). 
  8. Tõrv, M.;Meadows, J.; Lozovskaya, O.; Moiseyev, V. (2016). Loose human bones from cultural layers at Zamostje 2, central Russia (c.6500–4000 cal BC). – 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Vilnius, Lithuania, 31.8–4.9.2016) 
  9. Meadows, J.; Tõrv, M.; Bērziņš, V.;  Zagorska, I. (2016). Diet and childhood residential mobility at Rinnukalns, Latvia, in the 4th millennium cal BC. – 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Vilnius, Lithuania, 31.8–4.9.2016) 
  10. Tõrv, M. (2014). Challenges in dating the human remains and establishing a chronology of the Stone Age cemetery in Tamula, southeastern Estonia.  – Radiocarbon and diet: aquatic food resources and reservoir effects. International scientific meeting (Kiel, Germany 24.–26.9.2014) 
  11. Tõrv, M.; Eriksson, G.  (2014). Dietary practices of late hunter-gatherers in Estonia: carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of Tamula and Veibri. – 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. (Poster presentation; Istanbul, Turkey, 10–14.9.2014) 
  12. Tõrv, M. & Peyroteo- Stjerna, R.  (2014). Archaeothanatology in the Lab: from Field Notes and Graphic Documentation to Mortuary Practices. – 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists.  (Istanbul, Turkey 10.–14.9.2014) 
  13. Malve, M. & Tõrv, M.(2014). A Mass Grave of Ten Men from 13th Century AD, Veibri, Estonia. – 3rd Baltic Bioarchaeology Meeting (Riga, Latvia, 14.–17.5.2014)  


2017, Estonian National Heritage Board; I prize with the PhD thesis at the student work competition dealing with heritage matters 

2016, Estonian Research Council; the main prize (across disciplines) for the PhD thesis at the Estonian National Contest for University Students