New MLitt Course for 2017

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A new course involving The History Centre, The Archaeology Institute and The Centre for Nordic Studies The University of the Highlands and Islands is being launched for student intake in 2017.

The sea has often acted as a highway for people living along adjacent coasts and on islands. Such communities have frequently experienced closer ties with each other than with places further inland. The MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures explores these environments from an interdisciplinary perspective. This course is based on the internationally significant and world-class research of the staff involved and is led by the university’s Centre for History in collaboration with our Archaeology Institute and Centre for Nordic Studies. MLitt students will study two modules in History, Archaeology and Nordic Studies, and then complete a dissertation.

This programme, available from September 2017, will be of interest to those wishing to develop transferable skills with respect to coastal and maritime themes, and to all who wish to pursue further arts and humanities-based research in these areas.

Taught from the Highlands and Islands, the MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures is available to study from anywhere in the world.

Special features

  • Support from expert staff at the university’s Centre for History, Archaeology Institute and Centre for Nordic Studies, throughout your studies
  • Study online through the university’s virtual learning environment which means you can fit your studies around your personal and professional commitments
  • Opportunity to study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards a PgCert, PgDip, or full masters (MLitt) degree

For more information see http://bit.ly/24hIo0Z

 

Remembering The Hampshire

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Marwick Head Orkney. Kitchener Memorial. Thanks to Scott McIvor

Illustrated talk: Remembering The Hampshire 

Date: Wednesday 1st June

Venue: Birsay Hall http://www.birsayhall.com/

Time: 7.30pm

Free admission

As part of the First World War Commemorative Cultural Programme, The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute are giving a talk detailing some of the findings from the ROV survey of HMS Hampshire conducted two weeks ago. Edited footage from the ROV survey will be shown in addition to photographs of the wreck.

This survey forms part of an archaeological project to assess the condition and record the wreck and surrounding seabed and was recently undertaken by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute working in partnership with Seatronics – an Acteon Company, Teledyne RESON, Roving Eye Enterprises Ltd and Triscom Marine Ltd.

Thanks to Roving Eye Enterprises for ROV footage and images.

Further survey work using the Seatronics Predator ROV is in the planning stage.

This project has received funding and sponsorship from Interface, Orkney Islands Council and NorthLink Ferries.

Permission to undertake this remote survey was granted under licence by the MOD.

For further information

Sean Page (Marketing Officer, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute). Tel: 01856 569229 e-mail sean.page@uhi.ac.uk

HMS Hampshire Initial ROV Images

Initial images from the ROV Survey of the HMS Hampshire wreck site. 25th May 2016

HMS Hampshire sank on the 5th June 1916 when she struck a mine laid by German U-Boat U75. The wreck is located in approximately 60 metres of water off the west coast of Orkney and sank while en-route to Archangel in Russia. She was transporting Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, to a meeting with Tsar Nicholas II.

The first archaeological condition assessment and recording of the wreck and surrounding seabed was recently undertaken by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute working in partnership with Seatronics – an Acteon Company, Teledyne RESON, Roving Eye Enterprises Ltd and Triscom Marine Ltd. This work offers new information and data concerning the wreck and provides insights into the mine damage at the bow of the vessel, the impacts of salvage activities on the wreck, and the natural deterioration caused by the marine environment.

The Roving Eye Enterprises ROV survey confirmed previous findings that HMS Hampshire capsized as she sank and lies with an upturned hull on the seabed in approximately 60m of water. The superstructure itself is compressed and is buried in the soft silt of the seabed. The hull is damaged in places throughout the length of the vessel, exposing various elements of the interior, including torpedo tubes and machinery. Guns from the ship’s secondary armament were also identified on the surrounding seabed at a distance of up to 30m from the main body of the wreck. The location of these breech loading 6-inch MK VII guns may be related to the sinking event or salvage activity on the wreck.

Sandra Henry, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute said that “This remote survey has provided many new insights into the sinking and wreck of the HMS Hampshire. Ongoing work will continue to develop our knowledge base, revealing new information as we continue to gather and process data, creating a record of the Hampshire in 2016”

Keith Bichan of Roving Eye Enterprises Ltd commented that, “It was a real privilege to be involved with this project. I am an Orcadian who has had had an ROV business in Orkney for nearly 20 years and the HMS Hampshire was a wreck I always wanted to visit, due to its importance to First World War history, and the mystery and controversy that still surrounds it.”

Further survey work using the Seatronics Predator ROV is in the planning stage.

This project has received funding and sponsorship from Interface, Orkney Islands Council and NorthLink Ferries.

Permission to undertake this remote survey was granted under licence by the MOD

For further information

Sean Page (Marketing Officer, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute). Tel: 01856 569229 e-mail sean.page@uhi.ac.uk

Sandra Henry (Marine Archaeologist, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute) Tel : 01856 569223 e-mail sandra.henry@uhi.ac.uk

Update on recent discovery in Orkney

Yesterday, Professor Ian Ralston, Abercromby Professor of Archaeology , University of Edinburgh and Martin Carruthers of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute together with Clive the landowner, visited the site of the recently discovered subterranean structure in West Mainland, Orkney. The structure is slowly being emptied of 19th Century rubbish which includes glass bottles, a stone hot water bottle, an assortment of stone bottles, a teapot and a sheet of metal used for target practice (!) amongst other things.

There is even a glass bottle containing original 19th century amber coloured liquid – top still in place! In fact it is amazing that so many of these remnants of a ministers past life are still intact. Some bottles have broken, but not all.

In response to questions on social media concerning the next steps for this important find Martin writes, “We’ll perhaps build up this one over a little time. Geophysical survey would be a great start, and hopefully allow us to see if there are above ground traces of contemporary features. There are also some very interesting aspects to it’s location. It lies just a couple of hundred metres away from a substantial broch settlement (itself excavated by one of the ministers whose Victorian rubbish fills the new souterrain).

Also very interesting, is the fact that the little stream or burn that lies next to the souterrain rises from a natural spring nearby and then disappears back underground also quite close to the structure! If this hydrology was the same two thousand, or more, years ago, then I think this natural phenomenon would not have been lost on Iron Age Orcadians and their underground sensibilities!

We’ll look forward to finding out more before too long!”

 

 

Day 2 & 3 Kirkwall Dig.

 

Discovering Hidden Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme. Excavation in the RBS Garden.

Day 1 in the classroom. Day 2 & 3 in the rain.

On Monday 16th May, Dan Lee (Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist)and Sean Page (Marketing Officer) spent a preparation day at Kirkwall Grammar School involving pupils from S3 history and geography classes in a decision making project. We wanted to include them in the archaeological process as a whole so we devised a learning exercise in which we created a decision making lesson that asked the question…..Where shall we put the trench?

To answer the question we asked the pupils to decide and back up their decision with reasons. We provided them with maps from 1827, 1882, aerial photographs, 19th century photographs of the area and geophysics results. They then collectively had to decide where the trench was going to be located on the following day.

RBS Geophys
Geophysics of the RBS garden. Pupils had to decide where to dig.

The preparation day itself also placed the whole project into context and tied it into the work that the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative was undertaking in the town. We asked what is an archaeologist (involving various pictures of various people doing various things), what is archaeology and how is it different to history, what do archaeologist do, how do you become an archaeologist and touched on the transferable skills that an archaeologist develops. In effect we looked at how to develop a career in archaeology; something which was attractive to many pupils.

The preparation day was followed by two days in the field. It rained on the first day and drizzled on the second so they fully appreciated the benefit of correct clothing! Pupils undertook three activities throughout the whole day. These activities included surveying using a Leica TCR 1205+R400 Total Station Theodolite (TST) ,mapping, historical town survey and of course taking part in the excavation, sieving and finds washing in the RBS garden. It was a real hands on archaeological experience !

The objectives of the archaeology project were to try and answer these questions:

  1. What is the location, character and depth of the former shoreline and piers to the west of the town centre of Kirkwall (between Broad Street and Junction Road)
  2. Is there any evidence for the former layout of the museum gardens ?
  3. Do remains of the range of buildings depicted on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map survive below ground level. What is the character and depth of these remains where they do survive?

It is still a little early in the project to answer all of these questions, but we can say that the pupils found a feature which looks at this stage like a wall. Could it be part of the old shoreline wall? A garden feature ? A roadway? Well at this stage it is very hard to tell, but at the end of day 3 the team had excavated three courses of stone…so it looks like a wall. Finds included a sharpening stone, possible 17th Century ceramics, a stem and base from an 18th century wine glass, animal bones and a few pieces of flint (maybe washed down from the site of the Broch behind the site ??.

The excavation will be open another three days so we should be able to answer some of our questions more fully. However today (Thursday 19th May) we will be welcoming pupils from Glaitness Primary School….so who knows what we will find !

First dig in Kirkwall since 1978 starts today

Discovering Hidden Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme.

Excavation in RBS Garden

Archaeologists from The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team will be commencing the excavation today; the first research – led excavations in the town since 1978. The site in the RBS Bank gardens will open from 9:30am to 4:30pm each day from Monday 16th May until Saturday 20th May and visitors are welcome to visit and talk to the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team.

As part of the community programme we will be training volunteers and involving the local schools in the dig itself, mapping in the Museum Gardens and historical mapping in the town itself – piecing together the story of Kirkwall.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week KGS pupils are involved in three studies:

  1. Excavation, sieving and finds washing in the RBS gardens.
  2. Geophysics, surveying and mapping in the Museum Gardens
  3. Historical mapping in the town itself

These archaeological investigations will build on the geophysics survey completed two weeks ago and will help us discover answers to the questions

  1. What is the location, character and depth of the former shoreline and piers to the west of the town centre of Kirkwall (between Broad Street and Junction Road)
  2. Is there any evidence for the former layout of the museum gardens ?
  3. Do remains of the range of buildings depicted on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map in the southern part of the museum gardens survive below ground level. What is the character and depth of these remains where they do survive?

Pupils from Glaitness School will also be on site on Thursday 19th May from 10.30 until 12.30pm to help us in the dig.

 

New book to commemorate centenary of loss of HMS Hampshire

book4From our friends at The Kitchener and HMS Hampshire Memorial BLOG

Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial

The countdown continues – it is now just over three weeks until people from far and wide gather in Orkney to remember the sinking of HMS Hampshire 100 years ago and the 737 men who died on that stormy June night in 1916.

Relatives of those lost with HMS Hampshire – or HM Drifter Laurel Crown – should by now have heard from Orkney Islands Council about arrangements for the commemorative events. If you have not heard, and think you should have done, please contact Susan Learmonth by email – Susan.Learmonth@orkney.gov.uk – or telephone 01856 873535.

If you live in Orkney look out in this week’s edition of The Orcadian for a programme of events, published by Orkney Islands Council, marking the centenaries of the Battle of Jutland and the loss of HMS Hampshire.

For those of you elsewhere please keep an eye on this page on the council’s website which…

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